This goal can be met

January 07, 1997

This coming Friday, the Washington County United Way will close the books on its 1996 annual campaign. So far the campaign has collected $1,318,858, about $200,000 short of the $1.5 million raised last year and $500,000 short of this year's $1.8 million goal. We hope that those who haven't contributed yet will find a reason to do so.

If $200,000 comes in by Friday, United Way's agencies will be funded at last year's levels. They'll scrape by if the campaign raises as much as it did in 1995.

And if the $200,000 doesn't come in? Then volunteers will go back and rewrite the budget, looking at each agency's numbers to see what can be trimmed without major damage to the programs or the people being served.

But what if $500,000 is pledged by Friday, and the $1.8 million goal is met? It's not impossible; last July Maryland announced that state lottery players here were spending $45,000 per day. That's $16 million a year, and doesn't include the $7-million-plus the county gaming commission estimates is spent on tip jar play annually.


Clearly local people have money to spend; convincing some of them to spend a bit of it on United Way is the hard part.

Here are two good reasons:

- If the $1.8 million goal is set, the Commission on Aging could add a second full-time senior health aide. Aides visit seniors in their homes several times a week, monitoring their vital signs and making sure they're taking proper care of themselves. For many seniors, it means remaining at home instead of going to a nursing home. Eighty-three were served last year; with another aide that number could double.

- If the $1.8 million goal is met, the Parent-Child Center could double the number of young women it serves in its "Right from the Start" program that teaches teen mothers how to properly care for their babies in the first year of life.

If the $1.8 million goal is met, some aging people here will get the help they need to remain independent and some young people will get the help they need to start off on the right foot. If you can help, please call (301) 739-8200.

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