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story.lead_photo.caption Representatives from the 19 agencies awarded grants from the United Way hold their oversized checks Tuesday. Photo by Julie Smith / California Democrat.

JEFFERSON CITY — The Council for Drug Free Youth received a $4,300 grant from the United Way of Central Missouri for several programs to serve Moniteau County third and seventh to ninth grades.

All programs are intended to promote good decision-making and provide coping mechanisms for confronting situations involving drugs, tobacco, alcohol, peer pressure, bullying, violence and suicide.

Also, the Tipton Nutrition Center will get a new refrigerator, freezer, five-well steam table and assorted kitchen supplies thanks to a $7,500 grant.

The area United Way gave more than $100,000 in 19 Community Support Grants July 17 to nine partner agencies and 10 other health and human services organizations.

Other grant recipients were the 4-H robotics program, a case-management database for Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association, Dreams to Reality, a lift chair for Homemaker Health Care, Jefferson City Area YMCA Child Development Center, Jefferson City Rape and Abuse Crisis Service, Missouri Valley Big Brothers Big Sisters, Senior Nutrition Council of Jefferson City and Cole County, playground equipment for Children's Learning Center of Camden County, transportation aid for El Puente Hispanic Ministry, HALO Home, audiometers for the Jefferson City Public Schools Foundation, parenting classes at Kids Harbor, a pump-jack scaffold system for River City Habitat for Humanity, a handicapped-accessible van for The Healing House and New Beginnings and Wonderland Camp, and Working Wheels for Working Families.

The grants are used to fight for the health, education, financial stability and basic needs of people in Central Missouri, according to President Ann Bax.

The grants are in addition to more than $1.36 million the organization has committed to distribute to partner agencies in 2018.

The area United Way organization also announced its fundraising goal and theme for the upcoming collection campaign.

United Way partners help people who may struggle to put food on the table, she said. They assist area residents who suffer with mental health challenges. And they help children in foster care hope to find a forever home, she said.

This year's fundraising goal is $2 million. And because the theme is sports, its slogan is "Change the game," said Ryan Freeman, a co-chair of the 2018 campaign.

Changing the game is something United Way works at doing every day, he said.

Missy Dunn, the other co-chair, said more than 8,000 donors contributed to the 2017 campaign, which reached well over its goal of $1.875 million.

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