08/03/05 — For our neighbors: Lives are changed with help of United Way

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For our neighbors: Lives are changed with help of United Way

United Way campaign chairman Jane Rustin is right. If you are thinking just about donating to another charity when you fill out your United Way pledge card this year, you are not concentrating on the right thought.

Giving to the United Way is all about helping people, many of whom really are your neighbors.

The money that goes to the organization is used to help fund services and programs that benefit children of all ages as well as adults who live and work right here. It is amazing how many stories there are of families whose lives were changed because of the work of a program that is supported by United Way.

In fact, some of those stories might even come from your own neighborhood.

Few families have a lot of money to throw around these days. We all have to be careful where we put our budget dollars. So, for many families, choosing an organization to support is an important decision. No one wants to throw money into a pot that is not going to be used efficiently.

United Way is a special organization because of the extra attention that is paid to the charities and programs that receive its funds. Volunteers are part of a committee that checks and rechecks applicants to make sure the organizations are using the funds appropriately and truly have a need for United Way support. Books are scrutinized and committee members actually talk to the providers, and sometimes the beneficiaries, to make sure that the organization’s strict standards are being met.

But all it really takes is one story of one family whose life has been impacted by a United Way program to make all the checks, balances and work worthwhile for the hundreds of volunteers and staff who are part of the United Way team.

The campaign is just getting under way, and over the next few months, you will hear a lot about United Way and its success stories. Take a hard look at the statistics and the stories before you decide if you want to be part of this year’s effort.

And if you do decide to donate, as you plan your budget, think not about the check you will write, but of the difference that donation — whether fair share or simply a one-time amount — will make in the lives of Wayne County families.

When you look at it like that, there isn’t a better place to spend your charity dollars.

Published in Editorials on August 3, 2005 11:29 AM