I’ve been very fortunate in my lifetime. I feel I’ve been blessed with good health, a strong, loving family who not only supported me but passed along many valuable life lessons including a strong religious faith and a solid work ethic. I was fortunate enough to parlay those gifts into a pretty good life… not perfect, but certainly better than many.
As part of the United Way Campaign Team, I’ve been able to speak with many of you personally over the years during employee campaign visits where employers have invited team members into their businesses to explain what the United Way Campaign is all about.
Obviously, charitable giving means different things to different people. There are times during those visits when I see the expressions on peoples’ faces. Some are extremely interested and you know they’ve been receptive to the message. Others have the look of indifference and don’t appear to care one way or the other. Others are more vocal and come right out and tell me they need every penny they earn and say they don’t need someone like me who can afford to give asking them to contribute their hard earned dollars.
I try to point out that I’m just a messenger for the troubled kid down the street who needs some special attention now or his future could include breaking into a house some day, or the old senior couple up the road who barely scrape by on Social Security but were once best friends with your grandparents, or perhaps even their wife, brother or best buddy lying in the highway after a serious accident awaiting the Life Flight helicopter that may not arrive. These are just some of the faces helped by the United Way Campaign.
Who among us wouldn’t give when we know the exact circumstances of the need? Who wouldn’t part with a few bucks a week if it meant that copter would come to the rescue of your daughter? But for the most part many never recognize the value of those few dollars given each week. How they improve the lives of so many or just when the few dollars will impact their lives or someone very close to them. Just like the devastating damage from the Irene, we just never know what’s around the corner for any of us and there is nothing any of us wouldn’t do when we clearly see the immediate need.
Unfortunately, the need while present isn’t always right there on the surface clearly visible to all. It’s buried in everyday society and while part of life it is just as pressing as those who suffered at the hand of Irene. But that’s where the 39 Partner Agencies of the United Way step forward everyday dealing with both large and visible events as well as those private, behind the scenes family issues that effect so many across our three county region.
Many of these volunteer agencies would cease to exist without voluntary contribution either through the United Way Campaign or outright donations by a generous public.
Through the United Way Campaign 100 percent of your contribution can be channelled directly to a specific agency or agencies of your choice. Only through the United Way Campaign will your employer allow you to have a small payroll deduction taken each week that adds up to a significant dollar amount by year’s end. Only through the United Way Campaign can you be united with generous givers from around Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties to create a major giving source to support these 40 agencies so they can focus their energies on serving those in need and not on raising funds.
So, if your employer cares enough to invite some United Way volunteers into your place of employment, please remember it’s not about your employer, the volunteers or even the agencies, it’s only about those who need the services and how you can help them by Living United.
On behalf of the agencies and the many volunteers who generously donate their time, and most importantly all those served by these wonderful agencies, thank you for your consideration in supporting this most worthwhile community campaign and for whatever you can contribute.