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There's still time to help ...

November 16, 2006

Who can predict where and when a lightning bolt will strike? No one.

It's the same with many of life's tragedies. A father or mother is laid off from a good-paying job. A child decides to try illegal drugs "just once." A home burns down, taking all of the family's possessions with it.

If one of these things happens to someone you know in Washington County, there is a good chance that they'll seek help from one of the member agencies of the local United Way.

Whether the help is there when it's needed will depend on how successful the current campaign is.

The 2006 goal was set at $1.75 million. Right now the campaign has raised $1.13 million, or 65 percent of goal. If that sounds like a good percentage, it is, but the campaign was further ahead, percentage-wise, at this time last year.

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The Herald-Mail believes in United Way and ran its own in-house campaign to support it, for a number of reasons. They include:

It's an organization driven by volunteers, which means that little of the money raised is spent on overhead.

It provides oversight of the money spent by member agencies, which must submit annual audits.

It concentrates on human-service needs, including homelessness and disaster relief, that might otherwise require taxpayer support.

It raises funds almost painlessly, through payroll deductions.

But not everyone participates. If every worker in Washington County gave only $1 per week, for example, the campaign would raise $3.3 million.

Please help. If you aren't motivated by sympathy for those in need, consider the possiblity that you, or someone you know, might someday be a person in need.

To send a donation, mail it to United Way, 18706 Crestwood Drive, Hagerstown, MD 21742. For more information, call 301-739-8200 or visit the Web site at www.unitedwaywashcounty.org.

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