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Tomorrow's 'Day of Caring' provides two ways to share

August 31, 1999

Tomorrow more than 100 participants from a group of Washington County businesses and civic clubs will come together for the United Way's annual Day of Caring.

The eighth annual edition of the event should provide the opportunity, as spokeswoman Cynthia Oates said, for business partners to "nurture the nurturers" and for member agencies to highlight their mission in the community.

The event kicks off with a 7 a.m. breakfast at the Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown, during which campaign officials will also launch the combined charitable appeal's 1999 campaign.

In our view, the event is important for two reasons. The first is that it puts people whose only previous connection with United Way may have been writing a check in touch with some of the agencies' very real needs.

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For example, a team from Review & Herald Publishing will clean and paint the REACH, Inc., cold-weather shelter for the homeless while a group from Allegheny Power will sort food for the Food Resources reclamation center.

No doubt these and other groups could hire professional cleaning and painting companies to do the work for them. The fact that they don't is commendable, because it allows those whose professions seldom put them in touch with the needy to experience firsthand the effort it takes to assist the less fortunate.

And now, a word to those who won't be out providing service tomorrow. You can still help, by contributing to the annual United Way campaign. It would be a shame and a stain on this community's reputation if the same people who gamble more than $30 million a year on tip jars can't find it in their hearts to help those who don't have a quarter to spare.

We've heard all the excuses, the phony folklore that people use to avoid giving. To those folks still clinging to such nonsense, we say: If you can't give out of compassion for other people, give out of self-interest, so that these agencies will be strong enough to help you if you lose your job, need help with your aged parents or discover that your child is a drug addict. The choice is yours.

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