United Way of Carbon County celebrated bringing in new board members at a breakfast Monday at the Beacon 443 Diner, Lehighton.

Melissa Binder, president, welcomed everyone to the annual meeting and introduced new board members – Cindy Gasker and Lorraine Paules, both of Palmerton. Also several board members were reinstalled: Angela Nardini of Via Media, executive chairman of marketing and media; George Miller of Villa's Crossing; Christine Leibold of Boulder Creek Resort, treasurer; and Dr. Lisa Bleicher of Family Chiropractic, vice president of campaign/fundraising.

Binder also noted that more people are needed to fill in some vacant chairs, plus more volunteers are needed so the United Way can continue to provide services to the needy individuals in Carbon County.

She said that volunteers would be invited to monthly meetings and to assist with the major fundraiser, such as the upcoming Cruise to the Music event at Memorial Hall in Jim Thorpe.

Several of the agency representatives also attended the breakfast.

Binder said she welcomes agency representatives to take part as board members, but that it is important to continue to have community members involved to bring fresh ideas and assistance to the organization.

Leibold, who served as interim treasurer, agreed to step up into full treasurer. She then provided a financial report, which shows that the United Way of Carbon County has brought in $77,690 through grants, donations and fundraisers in 2011.

Of that total, $68,111 will be distributed to member agencies, while the balance will be used to fund operations, administration costs and fundraising efforts.

Leibold said that in 2010, the United States Census reported that the population of Carbon County was about 65,250 people.

Persons living below the poverty level equaled about 10 percent or about 6,850 people. She added that in 2011 the United Way of Carbon County supported 17 member agencies whose efforts collectively benefited approximately 5,500 Carbon County residents.

"ln 2012, the United Way is supporting at least 19 member agencies," said Leibold. "Our goal for 2012 is to raise at least $75,000 to continue to support them."

Leibold then recognized the donors who provided funding in 2011 of $1,000 or more though employee pledges and matching funds. They are Giant Food Markets, Jim Thorpe National Bank, United Parcel Service, Mauch Chunk Trust Company, Carbon County Action Committee AETNA Insurance, Susquehanna Bank, Nationwide Insurance and Wal-Mart.

She said that UWCC also received grants from PPL, Carbon County, Blue Ribbon Foundation, Blue Cross of NE Pennsylvania and National Penn Bank (formerly KNBT), The PNC Foundation and from other United Ways, including UW of Greater Lehigh Valley and UW of Greater Hazleton, UW of Lancaster County and UW of Berks County

Leibold also thanked the volunteers who make the annual Cruise to the Music a success.

"After all expenses were paid, the fundraiser from last year's event came in at just over $11,000," said Leibold. "With your help, we are hoping to exceed that amount this year."

The 5th Annual Cruise to the Music Festival will be held from 1-11 p.m. Saturday, July 21 at Jim Thorpe Memorial Park, East 10th Street, Jim Thorpe. Admission is free.

For additional information email unitedwayofcarboncounty@yahoo.com.

All donations should be sent to United Way of Carbon County, P.O. Box 545, Lehighton, Pa. 18235 or call Dr. Lisa Bleicher at (570) 242-2466 or Donna Lennon at (570) 225-6788.