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This is truly a community that cares

November 24, 2007|By Kevin R. Collins

Happy Anniversary, United Way of Washington County and thank you for your continued support of such vital services to our community. Faith In Action, a program of REACH Caregivers, is just one of the 25 local programs supported by the United Way.

Faith In Action provides free services to the elderly, disabled and disadvantaged of our community. Currently, it provides transportation for community members to medical appointments.

With the continued support of the United Way, we hope to increase our volunteer base so that we can provide expanded services (i.e., light housekeeping, bill paying/record keeping, friendly visitation, grocery shopping, minor home repair, snow shoveling, etc.) to our clients. The following is an example of what the Faith In Action program means to our clientele.

Ms. P is an 84-year-old female who lives alone in her own home and suffers with pain in her back and left leg. Ms. P. has been receiving aqua therapy twice a week at the Total Rehab Care physical therapy center for a number of years. She had been receiving assistance from another agency, but when that agency was no longer able to accommodate her, she appealed to REACH's Faith in Action program for assistance.

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For more than two years, REACH's Faith In Action volunteers have been providing round-trip transportation for Ms. P. so that she can receive her twice weekly aqua therapy. She says that without her therapy, her back and legs would stiffen and that, coupled with the accompanying pain, would render her incapable of walking.

Also, REACH Caregivers' Faith In Action program, and those community members who were served, would like to thank those businesses, agencies, and individuals that provided the expertise and labor, and in some cases assumed the associated costs, for the projects that were identified and coordinated by REACH's Faith In Action program for the annual 2007 United Way Day of Caring.

We would especially like to thank the following for their contributions and hard work:

The team of employees from the Washington County government who did a tremendous job on a home just off Dual Highway. The painting of exterior trim and replacement of gutters did wonders for its appearance. The residents sent a note of thanks that states "...thank you so much for fixing our house up out side ... You really don't know how much we appreciate it ... God bless you all."

The Leadership Washington County Alumni for the wonderful job they did painting the exterior trim, gutters, cement steps and porch ceilings and cutting down and removing overgrown weeds and bushes and taking several truckloads to the landfill. The resident sends her sincerest gratitude for all this group accomplished for her.

The Herald-Mail Company also did an outstanding job on a home on Mitchell Avenue, replacing the front porch steps and the decking of the back porch, then scraping, preparing and painting the porches and ceilings, among other things.

The resident was speechless when she arrived home the next day, and sends her love to all those who participated in this project. This group also made arrangements with a company to donate and install new windows throughout the home in the near future. These folks went way beyond what anyone could have expected from them.

Hagerstown Magazine was also active. A group of these folks rolled up their sleeves to paint the porch of a home of which the entire exterior was painted this past summer as a project of Antietam Workcamp. Thanks again folks for all of your hard work.

First Data employees delivered Faith In Action posters and brochures to houses of worship across the county. Not only did they take a day off work, but provided the transportation with their own vehicles and gas. Thanks so much for all you did!

The missions team from Grace Academy who came to the REACH Center and cleaned different areas, replaced ceiling tiles, sorted, stored and/or transported donated goods, cleaned out our storage area and removed trash in preparation for the opening of the Cold Weather Shelter.

The United Way of Washington County, for organizing and supporting the annual Day of Caring. Without that help, these accomplishments would not have been possible. This is just one of many ways our United Way helps our community throughout each year. Through the assistance and support of the United Way of Washington County, REACH's Faith In Action program and the other 24 partnering agencies provide a multitude of services and assistance to those in need.

The United Way works to mobilize our community to provide opportunities, address vital issues and improve the lives of all our citizens throughout the county. They know that, for true change to take place, the whole community - government, businesses, faith groups, nonprofits and ordinary citizens - must work together for the betterment of their community.

Your United Way contributions, given either directly or through your place of employment and your volunteered time bring lasting change, right where you live. Please help the United Way of Washington County and its 25 partnering agencies celebrate their 50th anniversary and continued support in their community.

Kevin R. Collins is the program director for Faith In Action, a program of REACH caregivers

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