11/29/08 — A wave of care: To reach crest of year's goal, community needs you

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A wave of care: To reach crest of year's goal, community needs you

The photos have been fun to look at -- and there are even a couple more surprise wave riders coming in the next day or two -- but the United Way's Ride the Wave is about more than silly shirts and surfboards.

The men and women who so generously agreed to don the Hawaiian gear are a part of a team of sorts -- a group of local business people and public servants who know that a community does not prosper if it does not stick together.

They represent the hundreds of businesses and thousands of people who have already decided to be part of this year's United Way fund drive through employee campaigns and corporate donations. Because of their efforts and the generosity of their employees, more than $1.2 million has already been raised to keep the programs sponsored by the United Way and its partners going in 2009.

But there is still a little ways to go to reach the $1.42 million mark -- this year's goal -- and a short time left to accomplish that feat.

The United Way is about people at its core. The money you donate does not go off to another city, and the people who benefit are not strangers you might never meet. The lives that are changed by the programs that the United Way partners sponsor are those of your neighbors, family and friends. And this year, more than 28,000 are counting on you.

Not too many people have extra money lying around the house these days. The economy has made many of us think twice about spending and giving. But this is the time when you are needed the most, especially if you have a lot to be thankful for this year.

The stories are real -- seniors who have a hot lunch because of the Meals on Wheels program, a teenager who gets help with his homework and a place to stay safe and out of trouble after school because of the Boys and Girls Club, a person who is down on his luck who gets a helping hand at the Salvation Army or a disabled person who finds a job and a purpose with the Wayne Opportunity Center -- and those are just a few of the places your money will make a difference.

You never know when your own life might be touched by the United Way -- or that of a family member, either. The Red Cross, another United Way partner, helps families from all walks of life through its disaster services and blood donation programs.

So although this past week has been about fun, the most important message is that you can make a difference with one checkmark and a realization that a community only succeeds when its members care about one another.

So Ride the Wave this week and become a part of the 2008 campaign. In the end, you will be able to see the results of your investment in the faces of the 28,400 people for whom your dollars have helped make a new life.

They are counting on you.

Published in Editorials on November 29, 2008 10:19 PM