March 4, 2014

Meeting the challenge

The Daily Citizen

— When a community steps up to help those in need and thus helps itself, it deserves recognition. And that’s just what happened Monday afternoon at the annual meeting of the United Way of Northwest Georgia.

The recent United Way campaign raised $3.5 million in the past year, along with an additional $350,744 the nonprofit agency invested into education and health-related programs that affect Whitfield and Murray counties.

Raising that kind of money takes a lot of effort by the United Way staff and volunteers, but it also says something about the giving spirit of the community. Nearly 10,000 people donated their hard-earned cash to the agency, supplementing the donations coming from about 47 companies.

United Way acts as a sort of clearinghouse for the donations, distributing the funds to about 30 agencies and organizations that are as varied as scouting, the Northwest Georgia Family Crisis Center, the Friendship House and Meals on Wheels. Without United Way funds some of these organizations would whither and thus weaken some of the more precarious segments of our community.

Meeting the goal means that, because of the way the United Way invests its funds in efforts with its partner agencies, more schoolchildren will graduate from high school; more low-cost health care will be provided to local families in need; and more hungry people will be fed.

“We have risen to the challenge and exceeded even my own expectations,” Celeste Creswell, United Way board chairwoman, said at the meeting.

We feel the same way.

The United Way’s primary goal is to fill in the gaps of need and build a stronger community. Success for United Way is success for us all.