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Editorial - The need we don't see

November 29, 1997

The Thanksgiving Day turkey is just a carcass now, or maybe just a plate full of scraps. Municipalities all over the county are putting up their holiday decorations and retailers are gearing up for their biggest month of the year, as shoppers decide how many holiday gifts they can afford.

To this last group we would like to say this: Please get your loved ones and those you know whatever gifts you believe are appropriate, but don't forget there are some other people out there who need help that you can provide for only pennies a day.

We're speaking of the thousands of people served by the member agencies of the Washington County United Way. The fact that they are not on the street begging for help doesn't mean they're not in need.

We're talking about the working poor, whose food budgets get a boost from many local food banks supplied by Food Resources, Inc. We're talking about the youngsters who get homework help and leadership training from the Boys and Girls Club. And we're talking about the parents who are learning how to improve their child-rearing skills through the Parent-Child Center.

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Those are just a few of the services United Way funds. How it does that job is worth mentioning, too. With only a small paid staff, United Way relies on volunteers to do everything from raising cash to reviewing agency requests. They've made their records available to anyone curious about where their donations go, and they're instituting a program that will make agencies justify their requests by requiring them to submit reports that show real results.

The United Way's current campaign just hit 48 percent of its goal, and with the local economy humming and unemployment low, there's no reason why it shouldn't hit 100 percent. If it doesn't, the same volunteers who gave their time to review budgets will have to go back and work on them again.

This is the season when many things - family, friends and religion - compete for our attention. But just because those in need aren't tugging at your sleeve doesn't mean they're not there. If you haven't pledged, please call (301) 739-8200 and do so now.

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