11/04/07 — We all touch lives: United Way’s stories reflect a community that cares

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We all touch lives: United Way’s stories reflect a community that cares

Their stories are heart-warming.

Many of the people who have been served by the United Way could tell you about their lives and leave you with tears in your eyes.

They have overcome obstacles of all sorts — from health concerns to poverty and domestic violence. They are children; they are adults; and they are senior citizens — and they all have had their lives changed forever because someone took the time to care.

Over the next week or so, you will meet many of them in The News-Argus. Their stories will inspire you to think about how lucky you are and how much you should appreciate the family and home you have — a very appropriate message during this time before the Thanksgiving holiday season.

But as you read their stories, please take the time to think as well about how you can make a difference in the lives of the hundreds of families out there who will still face challenges, disasters, illness, job loss and other issues.

In partnership with a variety of agencies, the United Way offers services of all kinds to local families. You would be surprised just how many people there are who have been touched in some way by the organization.

But, unfortunately, many people still do not realize that the United Way is not some huge charity that is funded through some massive endowment and is populated with bureaucrats who have never stepped foot in their communities.

In other words, they don’t get that we, all of us, are the United Way.

When you check a box on a United Way pledge form, you are not jettisoning money off to a corporate office for disbursement around the country.

You are sending money to a woman who is trying to get away from an abusive husband. You are feeding a family that is struggling after the loss of a job. You are helping a mom get the care she cannot afford for her child. You are helping children get the head start on learning they need to grow into successful young men and women.

And these are not nameless, faceless statistics either.

These are your friends and neighbors.

This coming week, the United Way will be launching its “The Final Lap” campaign — a last four weeks of effort to make sure no mother has to feel alone and without options, no senior citizen has to go without a hot meal and no child has to lose his or her chance at a future.

The campaign committee is asking you to be a part of that mission, to have a little fun and to remember that we are all in this together.

Watch the paper for the big announcement. Trust us, you won’t want to miss it.

If you decide as a business or other organization to create your own “challenge,” share the news. That kind of community spirit makes us all feel good.

And if you have the opportunity to give, please do so — or encourage your employer to become a part of this year’s campaign.

You just might change a life.

Published in Editorials on November 4, 2007 12:05 AM