Don’t let Suffolk come up short

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 9, 2005

For whatever reason – donations for hurricane relief, rising gasoline prices, or just plain apathy – donations to local United Way campaigns are off to a slow start.

Some three weeks into the official campaign, almost across the board campaign totals lag about 20 percent behind where officials hoped to be by this time.

That does not bode well, because the need is great and without United Way funding, agencies that help fill in the gaps are not going to be able to serve the growing number of needy.

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Even in Suffolk, where overwhelming enthusiasm and support of events like the Nosh on the Nansemond and the United Way Golf Tournament raised more than $35,000, and dozens of volunteers and companies came together to work on Day of Caring projects,

donations lag tens of thousands of dollars behind where they should be by this point.

This must change. Each community must meet its own needs and that responsibility falls on the people who live and work there.

Groups like the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless, Boy and Girl Scouts and many others will simply not be able to fulfill their vital missions if we don’t all carry our load.

While the local outpouring of support for Gulf Coast hurricane victims was awe-inspiring, hurricane relief monies are also needed here at home. As of two weeks ago there were already more than 500 Hurricane Katrina-displaced families that had relocated to our immediate area. Nearly 40 of those families registered with the Red Cross in Suffolk. They have lost everything and are going to need our help and the only way we can fulfill that need is through a successful United Way fundraising effort.

If you manage a business in Suffolk, please make a corporate donation, run an employee campaign, or both. If you work for a company in Suffolk that does not participate in United Way, encourage company officials to do so. Suffolk is thriving and there’s no reason we should not be able to reach our goal of $652,720..

The News-Herald will soon begin running a thermometer on its front page for the rest of October showing where the campaign stands. We look forward to seeing it surpass its goal. For more information on how your company can become involved in the United Way effort, call 539-1498.