The United Way of West Ellis County kicked off its 2007 campaign Thursday during a joint meeting of the Waxahachie Lions and Rotary clubs.

This year’s campaign, chaired by Nicole Mansell, has set an ambitious goal of $500,000, which will provide funding for 27 local agencies providing services to residents in western Ellis County.

“We can do it!” an enthusiastic Mansell urged the large audience that filled the Waxahachie Civic Center ballroom for the kickoff luncheon.

Last year the United Way of West Ellis County surpassed its goal of $350,000 by raising $385,000.

“I know a lot of you are thinking, a half-million dollars is a lot of money, and it is. But I know we can do it,” she said.

“Think of all the people we can help. If you can picture it - if you can visualize it - together, we can do it if we all hop on board and make it happen.”

Mansell announced this year’s theme: Together, we can give wings to angels.

“All of us have the ability to fly,” Mansell said. “Some of us just need a little more help than others.

“America is a nation of givers. I know that with your help, with your dedication, we can make our goal and raise $500,000 for our agencies.”

United Way agencies are:

American Red Cross. Assistance Dogs of Texas. Avalon Summer Recreation. Boy Scouts of America, Circle Ten Council. CASA - Court Appointed Special Advocates. Common Ground Ministries. Daniel’s Den. Ellis County 4H. Ellis County Foster Parent Association. The Gingerbread House. Manna House of Midlothian. Meals on Wheels Ellis County. Midlothian Senior Citizens Center. Milford Citizens Center. Milford Summer Recreation Activities. North Ellis County Outreach. Reading & Radio Resources. Reach Council Prevention Services. Our Children’s House. Salvation Army of Waxahachie. Tejas Girl Scout Council. Hanna’s Ministries Family Care Program. Waxahachie Boys & Girls Club. Waxahachie C.A.R.E. Waxahachie Seniors Citizens. WISD Lighthouse for Learning. WISD Summer Recreation. YMCA.

For more information on United Way of West Ellis County or to set up a presentation at your business or company, call Richard Norman, Executive Director of United Way of West Ellis County, at (972) 723-9280.

United Way began in 1887 with four men in Denver, Colo., rounding up $21,000 to help alleviate poverty in their city. In 2005 United Way raised $3 billion to help organizations and people in their communities,