09/01/06 — Their faces: Portraits of Promise shares glimpse of real United Way

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Their faces: Portraits of Promise shares glimpse of real United Way

All of us get the calls.

Donate to this. Contribute to that. Can we count on your support?

We hear the appeals so often, we ignore them. It’s a nuisance, and we are too busy to listen.

We are tired of the pitches. They don’t matter to us. They don’t touch our hearts.

And sometimes because of the multitude of voices asking us for this and bombarding us for that, we tune out real messages of need right here at home.

The United Way of Wayne County unveiled its brand new Portraits of Promise displays Thursday night.

The series of five photographs is nothing splashy or fancy. They aren’t even in color. They don’t need to be. The faces say it all.

The premise is simple. Show pictures of the people who support the United Way and the people who benefit from the services its member agencies provide. And, right there in front of you, will see the benefit that comes with being a part of the United Way effort.

The stories are touching, and photos, revealing When you see them, you will understand the connection between the United Way and the people in need in this community — and why you, too, should play a part.

There is need in every corner of the world. We all have our causes, our concerns, our hopes for the future.

But what we must not forget is how often the person who needs us is right next door — the woman trying to start her life over after a marriage of violence; a senior citizen who waits every day for the knock on the door that not only brings her a meal, but independence; or the family who would not eat if there wasn’t somewhere that offered a hot meal every day — no questions asked.

And those are just a few of the people whose lives are changed every day by the United Way.

But there is a benefit for those who give, too.

Look into the eyes of the volunteers and you will see that knowing the money you share helps someone just like you — or with a small change in circumstance, could be you or someone you love — makes that gift so much more personal and meaningful.

The volunteers’ lives have been changed through the small part of their paychecks they share.

A community is more than simply boundaries and neighborhoods. A group of people united in the determination to care about each other is what makes a town into a hometown — even if it is only an adopted or temporary one.

The United Way is your chance to be a part of that.

There are still plenty of lives left to change and hearts that have yet to be touched.

As the United Way’s 2006 campaign swings into gear, you will see the portraits around town and hear this year’s messages from campaign chairman Geoff Hulse and his band of volunteers.

Listen to the stories, offer your support and open your heart. Be a part of making a difference. Your life — and your community — will be the better for it.

And maybe, someday, you, too, will be part of a Portrait of Promise for someone you might not have known needed your outstretched hand.

That is a reward that cannot be measured in dollars and cents — and a legacy that lives on long after the campaign is over and the dollars have been spent.

And that is really what becoming a part of the United Way is all about.

Published in Editorials on September 1, 2006 10:33 AM