PLATTSBURGH - As the year draws to a close, so do the days to make a tax-deductible contribution to the 2008-09 fundraising campaign for the United Way of Clinton and Essex Counties Inc.
Denton Publications owner and publisher Daniel E. Alexander, chairman of the local United Way's 2008-09 fundraising campaign team, reported that in the final weeks of the campaign - which ends Jan. 31 - the organization is still 30 percent short of its $700,000 goal.
In the spirit of the holiday season, Alexander asked the community to dig a little deeper into their pockets for the less fortunate.
"No matter your situation, we all know that this time of year is one for thinking of others and giving from the heart," said Alexander. "I have always found that any money I've ever given to a better need than my own, somehow seems to get replaced."
John C. Bernardi, executive director of the local United Way, said the campaign team has been working diligently to pursue new donors and working with existing ones to increase their contributions for what has been a turbulent year for the economy.
"The needs are so tremendous right now that it's just imperative that we're successful," said Bernardi. "This community has a history of stepping up to the plate and showing us a great deal of caring and compassion for friends and neighbors. We're confident that's going to be the case again this year."
The economy, while it's had its ups and downs, has had both a positive and negative effect on fundraising efforts, he added.
"We're seeing a mixed bag this year," said Bernardi. "We're seeing people struggling to participate but then we're also seeing some people who are giving more this year because they understand the needs are so great."
The majority of the community, Bernardi continued, understands the importance of the critical services provided by the partner agencies the United Way benefits, many of which the public may not realize the nonprofit organization helps.
The 33 partner agencies, said Bernardi, consist of Adirondack Community Action Program Inc., Adirondack Experience Inc., Alzheimer's Assistance Center, AuSable Valley Habitat for Humanity, Behavioral Health Services North Inc., Boy Scouts, Twin Rivers Council, Champlain Children's Learning Center, Inc., Champlain Valley Family Center, Child Care Coordinating Council of the North Country Inc., ComLinks, Community Action Partnership, Compassionate Friends, CVES Career Pathways Stipend Program, ETC Housing, Families First in Essex County, Family Promise of Clinton County, Girls Scouts of Northeastern New York, Hospice of the North Country Inc., Joint Council For Economic Opportunity Inc., Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County , Literacy Volunteers of Essex/Franklin Counties, Mental Health Association in Essex County Inc., National Alliance for Mentally Ill of Champlain Valley, North Country Association for the Visually Impaired, North Country Center for Independence Ltd., North Country Life Flight Inc., North Country Regional Traumatic Brain Injury Center, Plattsburgh YMCA, Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Clinton County, Retired & Senior Volunteer Program of Essex County, Senior Citizens Council of Clinton County Inc., Ted K. Community Center/Plattsburgh Housing Authority, The Substance Abuse Prevention Team of Essex County Inc., and the Thomas Shipman Sr. Memorial Youth Center.
The number of organizations United Way helps is important to the North Country, said Alexander, adding it's during this time of year people should take time to remember that.
"At this special time of year we are reminded of a little child who came into this world for one purpose and that was to give of himself," Alexander continued. "I ask you to consider all the blessings in your life and consider a small donation to the United Way this holiday season."
Those wishing to donate may make donations directly at the local United Way chapter, located at 45 Tom Miller Road, or through a payroll deduction, which may be arranged through one's employer.
For more information about how to contribute to the 2008-09 United Way fundraising campaign call 563-0028 or visit www.unitedwayce.org.
*Contributions as of 12/18/08