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Editorial - Your help is needed

December 19, 1997

Christmas is just three days away, and unless you're more organized than the average person, you're still putting the finishing touches on this celebration, buying a few last-minute gifts or deciding which recipe to use for the holiday turkey stuffing.

But even as you prepare for your special day, many of your fellow citizens are putting aside their own holiday plans to work on something that's more important to them.

They're Washington County's United Way volunteers, trying hard to put the finishing touches on a campaign that closes in less than a month. As of Dec. 12, the campaign had brought in $1.21 million, which means that more than $400,000 needs to be pledged in the last month.

The money funds a variety of agencies that do everything from providing life-saving training (through the Red Cross) to building character in local youths through agencies like the Boys and Girls Club, the YMCA, Girls Inc., and the Boy Scouts.

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Most cash is raised and many of the programs are administered with the help of community volunteers. People just like you raise funds, volunteer their time to work with youth and spend lots of time looking closely at United Way's budget.

This year they're changing the way they fund agencies to make sure donated dollars are used as efficiently as possible. Except for clients' names, none of what they do is secret, and anyone who doubts that can look at United Way's books.

Now here's the problem: Imagine what would happen if you had to tell your child or loved one that the Christmas they'd counted on won't be happening, because there wasn't enough money. If United Way's campaign stalls now, United Way's volunteer budget committee will have to go back, like a Santa with an empty sack, and tell the agencies that serve so many in this area there just isn't enough cash to go around.

That isn't necessary in a community that regularly rallies to help those in trouble. In this case, however, it isn't a burned-out family that needs help, but all those people United Way agencies help, in a hundred different ways.. If you can find it in your heart to contribute, please call (301) 739-8200.

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