EDITORIAL: Our gifts to United Way help in many ways

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United Way of Perry County’s yearly funding drive is under way. The success of the group’s efforts depends on each of us. This year’s campaign hopes to raise $125,000 for support groups that provide a wide range of services within our community

Our gifts to United Way will indeed help build our community. United Way donations support our young people through 4-H and Scouting, serve those with physical and mental challenges and provide emergency care to our own when fire, storms and other disasters strike. The campaign also helps support local food pantries and providers of medical and crisis services. The chances are good that all of us or people we care about have directly benefited from United Way’s support of local nonprofit agencies.

United Way has a decades-old record of supporting nonprofit groups in our county and many of us are familiar with their work. What makes gifts to United Way unique is that each dollar supports so many groups. Of course, bequests can be designated to a particular agency or group of agencies, but most of us know that all of the groups do much-needed work in the community.

Money will also go to outreach programs at our local schools, Big Brothers-Big Sisters and Perry County 4-H. Individuals and families facing crises will have access to several United-Way supported organizations, including the American Red Cross, Catholic Charities emergency program, Martin’s Cloak and Widow’s Barrel food pantry, Crisis Connection and Salvation Army.

Money given to this year’s campaign will also strengthen companion-care and home-health programs at Perry County Memorial Hospital, allow Anderson Woods Inc. to provide camping experiences to special-needs children and adults and aid the Perry County Council on Aging and Visiting Nurse Association.

Dollars raised locally stay in our community and a local board of directors ensures money is allocated to groups with proven track records of helping others. Members of the community are consulted regularly for their advice and have a role in funding decisions.

Our local United Way has also been active in a number of community-service areas, including coordination of programs that collect and distribute gifts for children during the holidays and the collection of winter coats, development of public greenways and biking lanes.  

Because there are ways to give other than money, United Way sponsors annual Days of Caring, giving volunteers an opportunity to contribute hands-on help to United Way agencies.

We encourage you to do your part. Many businesses support the annual campaign and some companies match a portion of their employees’ contributions. Gifts of all sizes are needed and will go a long way toward helping United Way reach its goal.

For information on how to support this year's campaign, contact chairwoman Gayle Strassell or Rebecca Fenn, executive director of United Way of Perry County, at 547-2577.

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