Opinion

Giving to United Way: Taking care of our own

As United Way fast approaches another Community Campaign period, I was intrigued by a recent column by well know columnist Cal Thomas. The article was entitled, “Losing faith in our government.”

Thomas sited a USA Today/Bipartisan Policy Center poll, “Americans by more than two to one say the best way to make positive changes in society is through volunteer organizations and charities, not by being active in government.”

Later in the article after besmirching politicians, Thomas rightly states that, “Charitable organizations are addressing problems the federal government only talks about.”

He then sights World Magazine, a bi-weekly Christian publication that has given its annual “Hope Award for Effective Compassion” to My Safe Harbor, an organization in Anaheim, Calif., that helps single mothers break the dysfunctional cycle of broken homes. The program promotes faith, personal responsibility and accountability for one’s actions. It is an anti-poverty program that works.

Here, in Kitsap County, United Way recognizes every year non-profit organizations that work extremely hard to give hope and effective compassion to people and families who suffer from poverty.

That is why United Way of Kitsap County has been in business for over 75 years.

It is time that we in Kitsap County and for that matter all communities realize that the times have changed and that the government dollar spigot has been turned off and that our best hope is local charities supported by local people.

Some of you might remember when we took care of our own. Families took care of family, friends helped friends and when that wasn’t possible we depended on churches and local charities to help.

Times have changed! More people are depending on part time jobs to try to make ends meet.

More families are having to make trips to the local food bank rather than the grocery store.

More people are shopping in Goodwill or Value Village than in department stores.

And I am sure that you know someone who has fallen on bad times and maybe has lost or is about to lose the roof over their head.

So, what do we do?

Do we just stand by and watch as our neighbors, friends and maybe even our relatives suffer?

I sure hope not! The USA Today and the Bipartisan Policy Center are correct, the best ways to make positive changes in society are through volunteer organizations and charities.

Whether you donate $1 or $10,000 to your favorite single charity or donate monthly through payroll deduction through your employer, your dollars will be better spent locally helping those in need.

As United Way begins its Annual Community Campaign, I hope that you will consider pledging your dollars through United Way. We can do more united than we ever can alone.

Your dollars joined with others and leveraged by United Way have for over 75 years created lasting change in our community through a collaborative network of caring, compassionate health and human service organizations that professionally case managed individuals and families helping to put them on the road to self-sufficiency.

During this campaign period, help begin to renew our faith in ourselves as a community through a charitable gift.

Remember, a gift to United Way is multiplied hundreds of times by others in the community who give the United Way.

For more information about United Way or to make a tax deductible gift, call 360-377-8505 or visit our web site at www.unitedwaykitsap.org.

We can do more united then we ever can alone!

Give, advocate, volunteer... how do you Live United?

Foote is the executive director of the United Way of Kitsap County.

 

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