CASA GRANDE — The cities of Casa Grande, Maricopa and Apache Junction were among the various municipalities and organizations to receive awards from United Way of Pinal County during its 35th annual awards ceremony held recently at Robson Ranch in Eloy.

This is the first year that the United Way of Pinal County had a recognition and awards category for municipalities.

Apache Junction, whose staff donated $3,828 during the 2015 campaign, received an award for being the largest municipal campaign for the giving season.

Maricopa was awarded for having the largest percentage of increase by staff at 35 percent.

Casa Grande received an honorable mention for its 25 percent increase in staff donations.

Employees of municipalities may contribute to the United Way of Pinal County through payroll deduction in a charitable giving campaign. The donations are added to corporate and individual donations and matched with grants to help strengthen community impact.

Last year, funds received through United Way were used to:

– Serve 22,080 meals,

– Provide 13,268 food boxes,

– Give 4,026 Meals on Wheels to seniors and at-risk individuals,

– Provide leadership training for 4,354 junior high school students,

– Distribute 700 back-to-school backpacks,

– Prepare 2,580 tax returns free of charge, which yielded $4,397,467 in refunds and savings, and

– Discount 3,195 prescription claims, which saved residents $74,135.

The United Way started the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and developed a new financial stability class that teaches life skills such as budgeting, balancing a checkbook and differentiating between needs and wants, according to a press release from the United Way of Pinal County.

The United Way and the cities of Apache Junction and Casa Grande are both working on homeless programs.

Nearly 100 attendees from all across the county attended the awards ceremony.

On-hand to receive the awards were Apache Junction City Manager Bryant Powell, Casa Grande Fire Chief and largest donor Scott Miller and Christine Todd from Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino for the city of Maricopa.

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