Where Do Your Donations Go?

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Knoxville (WVLT) - Each year thousands of people here in East Tennessee are impacted by donations made to the United Way.

Right now more than $11.7 million has been raised, seven hundred thousand dollars shy of the goal.

The three to four week extension is extremely important to the 50 Greater Knoxville organizations who rely on this money each year.

Volunteer TV's Allison hunt takes a look at where your donations go.

It's a playful afternoon for the kindergarteners.

But the Boys and Girls Club couldn't provide the balls and jump ropes without money from the United Way.

(Lisa Hurst, Exec. VP, Boys and Girls Club)"If we don't have the united way resources we have to make some tough decisions," says Lisa Hurst, Executive Vice President of the Boys and Girls Club.

Tough decisions like cutting education, leadership and safety programs.

The six hundred eighty thousand dollars received annually goes a long way.

"To make sure they do well in school, make sure they never go to bed hungry, to make sure they have good character and leadership programs," Hurst says.

Executive Vice President Lisa Hurst says taking a couple extra weeks to raise the money will keep the boys and girls club from making cuts in funding.

"We have to decide which children we may not be able to feed, we have to decide which programs we may not be able to continue," Hurst.

The Second Harvest Food Bank is one of those agency's waiting for an 80 thousand dollar donation from the United Way, to help serve three hundred agencies with food and help thousands of people across East Tennessee.

"It would be great to know that we're gonna have that money in our back pockets basically to be able to purchase food all year round," Elaine Machiela, Executive Director, Second Harvest says.

And the holiday season is an especially busy time for those in need.

"We're specifically purchasing food that our agencies need, cereals and peanut butter and we try to have that on our hand here at our warehouse at all times," Machiela says.

And keeping their shelves full, helps those families.

"United Way is a great organization, we appreciate so much the community participates in all the campaigning that goes on," Machiela says.

In February 2007, organizations have to present their criteria in front of panels from the United Way to decide how much money each will receive.

Find out more about the United Way: http://national.unitedway.org/