SHAMOKIN - Those who helped the Lower Anthracite Region United Way far exceed its fundraising goal were treated to a breakfast buffet and some kind words Monday morning.

The United Way board and its member agencies held their first-ever donor appreciation breakfast at Rob's Good Time Grill. This year's campaign took in $61,151, well above the $50,000 goal.

"We are very appreciative for your donations," said executive director Whitney Fetterman. "This breakfast today is our way of saying thank you for all your help."

Fetterman presented plaques to those who attended the breakfast. Several member agencies' representatives were present to say thanks as well, and to detail how the money received from the United Way would be used.

For Big Brothers/Big Sisters representative Peggy Reichenbach, the funds will help facilitate more matches between responsible mentors and single-parent children, even without an office to do it in.

"Starting today, I will be working from my home." Reichenbach told those gathered. "We still have our office in Williamsport, because our rent there is free. Times are getting tough, but we are going to be OK, thanks to the help you have provided."

Edward Coup, executive director for The ARC, Susquehanna Valley, said United Way funds will be used to start a new pilot program.

"We have a social gathering every week, and we are going to use the United Way's contribution this year to purchase laptop computers and special software for learning social skills," Coup said. "They are not only learning that, but also soft job skills as well."

Attendees also heard from Avenues, the American Red Cross, Manna for the Many, the Girl Scouts, Heart of Pennsylvania, VNA and Central Susquehanna Opportunities. Also receiving funds from the United Way this year were the Boy Scouts of America and Central Susquehanna Sight Services.

The generosity of the area was summed up by James Prim, director of business development for VNA, who is new to the area.

"The one thing that has amazed me is how the community cares for its individuals," he said. "And that is shown here in an abundance. Thank you."