Editorial: 725,000 reasons to give

“Together we can make a difference.” That’s one phrase many area residents associate with the United Way of Addison County.
“The Way Addison County cares” is another.
Both are apt reminders of the way the United Way works: It relies on a large group of volunteers to reach out and help people in need. It works with more than two-dozen agencies in Addison County to be sure the human and social needs of people in the county don’t go unmet.
And it works with a talented board of directors to identify the most pressing needs each year and to channel adequate funds to those groups.
But none of it works without your help. None of it works without a steady flow of donated dollars to fill the coffers of the United Way. It is, at heart, the most important part of the annual effort.
This year the United Way of Addison County’s goal is $725,000.  It is a challenging goal, leaders say, but quickly add that they are aiming high “because aiming lower is not an option, and because needs are not getting smaller.”
That should be obvious. For the past five years, since the Great Recession of 2007-8, state and federal aid has been cut for many of the services that support those who are most vulnerable in our society. From children who need a stable home environment and three healthy meals, to the unemployed struggling to find work and make ends meet until they land a job, fulfilling those is what the United Way is all about.
For those who don’t realize the reach of the United Way into our communities, consider that the organization’s primary focus is to help keep our communities vital, by:
• providing services that help reduce health care costs and improve the quality of life;
• supporting systems and services that promote financial stability;
• pursuing successful educational outcomes;
• providing systems and services that promote financial stability;
• involving citizens with a passion for the common good to be involved.
That’s no small feat and every contribution makes a difference in the organization’s ability to meet those ambitious goals.
Today’s United Way is also more sophisticated than ever before. In just one of the hundreds of programs it helps fund, the UWAC helps secure the financial stability of low-income families by teaching basic financial literacy to low-income families through the “Learn it, Keep It, Grow It” program.
“Everyone Wins!” is a United Way sponsored mentoring program that promotes reading proficiency for third-graders — an educational benchmark that can determine success or failure in future academics.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. In every facet of our community, UWAC is there and they’re involved. That is why they need your help.
Donate today, if you haven’t already, through a one-time payment or through a payroll deduction program at your work. For as little as $1 or $2 a week, you can truly make a huge difference. For more about this year’s campaign see unitedwayaddisoncounty.org.
Angelo S. Lynn

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