The kickoff last week of our United Way campaign brought back to my mind how truly “united” Cleveland and Bradley County becomes when disasters or emergencies arise.
The United Way agencies were on the scene and actively helping victims when the disaster struck. They continue today to help direct funding and meet the needs of people who are still trying to recover from their losses.
United Way is also here year-round to serve the many and varied needs of our citizens. That’s why it is important that we support the United Way campaign each year and help provide needed funds for all of its agencies.
The lives of many people are touched each and every day by a United Way agency. Whether it be our Cleveland Emergency Shelter and Harbor Safe House, helping children with birth defects or home-delivered meals to the elderly and home-bound, the funds of the United Way campaign make certain these programs survive.
American Red Cross, Boys and Girl Scouts, Learning Center for Adults and Families, Cleveland Family YMCA, Behavioral Research Institute and Boehm Birth Defects Centers are just a few of the important groups that provide families with needed assistance.
Our Boys & Girls Clubs is another area where youth programs are provided for boys and girls, ages 6 to 18. Programs feature character and leadership development, education, arts, health and life skills, and fitness and recreation.
I recently took part in the official opening of the school year for teachers in our Cleveland City Schools system. A presentation by the Boys & Girls Clubs stressed the importance of this organization and how vital the United Way dollars are throughout the year. The Boys & Girls Clubs has been a life-changing experience for many boys and girls, and has often put them on a path in life that they may never have achieved otherwise. If you have ever listened to one of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Year recipients, you will know what a difference it is making. Some of the stories are heart-wrenching and prove that their services are “changing lives one child at a time.”
This year when United Way volunteers come asking for help, consider a donation. Regardless of how small or large, it all blends together to support our community. Every penny counts.
I hope we never experience another tornado disaster, but it’s comforting to know that United Way agencies are here to offer food, shelter, counseling and more when emergencies arise. And they are here to continue to help as victims recover from their losses.
Giving to United Way is easy and can be done through payroll deduction at your place of employment, payments throughout the year or one lump sum. Uniting our dollars can make a world of difference in making sure the various agencies can cover the cost of their programs and services. The total allocations last year were over $2.4 million. Let’s help cover that cost. It’s the least we can do to help those who cannot help themselves. It’s neighbors helping neighbors in a community united!