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Please help the United Way reach its goal of $1.7 million

November 22, 2005

With less than six weeks to go before the end of this year's campaign, the United Way of Washington County has only reached 56 percent of its goal.

Local residents have been very generous when it comes to hurricane relief. But if there is not a greater response to this drive, a storm of a different kind will hit local agencies and the people they serve.

It won't be a flood, such as the one that devastated New Orleans, but a money drought, as some nonprofits that depend on United Way for a major share of their budgets are forced to scale back services.

It will fall to a volunteer committee to handle the task of deciding which agencies must make do with less.

How would you make such a decision? Would you limit the number of elderly people receiving Meals on Wheels?

Of course, if you made it harder for the aged to stay in their homes more might go into nursing homes, where more of your tax dollars would eventually be required to take care of them.

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Would you cut back on the character-building programs of Girls Inc., or the Boys and Girls Club of Washington County?

If you did that, more children might not get the encouragement they need to stay in school or avoid getting pregnant.

Again, your tax dollars would end up supporting those young mothers and incarcerating those whose lack of education makes it easier for them to drift into a life of crime.

Maybe you would cut the local chapter of the Red Cross, but then you'd be taking a risk that when blood was needed by you, a relative or a friend, it wouldn't be available.

If you think of it, the United Way is like a levee that prevents a flood of bad things from happening to this community. If this "levee" fails because the community hasn't fortified it with their donations, then the bill for the cleanup will eventually be much higher.

If you have already given to this year's drive, please consider increasing your donation or sending a supplemental contribution.

If you haven't contributed, ask your employer if your donation can be deducted from your paycheck each week.

Pledging $5 a week is something most people can do without thinking about it. It's the combination of all those pledges that will allow the campaign to reach its $1.7 million goal.

If you're still not sure and would like more information, contact United Way at 301-739-8200.

If you're certain you want to help, please send a check to United Way of Washington County, 18706 Crestwood Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21742.

Still not convinced? If you're not moved by the plight of those now served by United Way, consider this:

Like a hurricane blowing in from the ocean, tragedy can strike with very little warning. If you suddenly become a person in need, don't you want those agencies to be financially strong enough to help you?

financially strong enough to help you?

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