Empire editorial: Make a difference: Support the United Way of Southeast Alaska

Posted: Sunday, November 24, 2002

United Way of Southeast Alaska brings together the people and resources to meet a wide range of human needs through charitable giving. Statistics show that one of three people will need and use services funded through United Way at some point in their lifetime, for food, clothing, heat, shelter, medical assistance, independent living, and for child care, nurturing and development. The day will come when you or someone close to you may need this help.

Your support ensures that you, your loved ones, or your neighbors have help when it is needed. Your gift is an investment in the quality of life in our community; a community where neighbors care about neighbors and no one lives beyond the reach of the hand of providence.

When a crisis hits a family due to the sudden loss of a provider, alcoholism, spousal abuse, a catastrophic medical event, or loss of self sufficiency, it is often the innocent who are affected the most. Your donation to United Way becomes part of a community-wide, mostly volunteer effort to improve the human condition and add a measure of dignity to those in need at a time when they are most vulnerable.

The 31 local agencies and more than 130 programs supported by United Way of Southeast Alaska are there to provide the safety net for those who have nowhere else to turn. In many cases, the need for assistance is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and the help provided is enough to get individuals and families back on the road to self-sufficiency.

This year's campaign goal is $600,000. The monetary goal is a small measure of the ultimate good it will enable. Since much of the money is used to purchase already discounted goods and services and a great deal of the labor provided through United Way agencies is performed by volunteers, the money pays dividends many times over.

The value of hope, health, dignity, caring and self-sufficiency cannot be measured in dollars and cents. The caring part offers a return in two ways - the joy in giving and the good that it does. When asked to give to United Way, whether at home or at work, rest assured that your donation will be efficiently and effectively managed, with a very small percentage going to administrative costs.

Contributions can be made through payroll deductions or direct donations. Donors can designate specific charities and nonprofit organizations to receive their money, or donations can go into a general fund and be distributed by a committee on the basis of critical need.

Out of all the money donated in Southeast Alaska last year, 74 percent came from individuals, the rest from corporations. United Way generated donations of volunteer time and money through co-sponsored, community events such as the Charity Walk and Day of Caring.

In this season of giving, open your heart and make a real difference in the lives of others through a donation to United Way of Southeast Alaska.

Don Smith



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