You're friends and neighbors need your help, and time is of the essence.
The fundraising campaigns for the United Ways that cover our region are quickly coming to a close, and that means a final push is under way to help ensure their goals are met.
The United Way of Jefferson County has received pledges totaling 80 percent of its $430,000 goal, while pledges for the Weirton United Way stand at about 85 percent of its $280,000 goal and pledges to the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley, which serves Brooke County, stand at about 75 percent of that organization's goal of $777,000.
Money donated to local United Ways benefits area residents in many ways. The United Way of Jefferson County helps to fund 19 member agencies, while the Weirton United Way funds 15 agencies and the United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley funds 30 member agencies.
Here are just a few examples of what those area agencies do: The Jefferson County Fourth Street Health Center, provides medical services to the underinsured and uninsured. The Neighborhood House offers day care services. The A.L.I.V.E shelter provides help to those who suffer from abuse. The Smithfield Friends Food Pantry helps to ensure residents of the southern end of Jefferson County have access to food,
The United Ways have several events planned during the next few weeks aimed at helping them meet their goals. The first happens Wednesday, when the United Way of Jefferson County will hold its first webathon.
Set to be produced in the newsroom of the Herald-Star, the Internet-only telecast will provide profiles of several member agencies and offer recognition to donors. It will be a part of the organization's call center, at which volunteers will be contacting area residents and seeking those final donations.
Proceeds from a pancake breakfast scheduled for Feb. 5 at Applebee's also will go to the organization.
These events, and several others, will help the organizations raise the money needed to reach their goals and enable their member agencies to continue to provide their vital services. If the goals are not met, the boards that run the United Ways will be forced to cut money that is distributed to their member agencies. That's an unacceptable outcome, and one each resident of the Tri-State Area can help ensure does not come about.
If you have contributed to a United Way campaign, we thank you. If you have yet to contribute, we urge you to do so now.
Your friends and neighbors are counting on you.