The United Way of Central Kansas will launch its 2013 campaign Saturday with a goal of $235,000 to be reached by Dec. 31. Each year, Executive Director Julie Bugner-Smith comes up with a catchy theme to make the kick-off an entertaining and enjoyable evening. This year it’s “Peace, Love and United Way,” a 60s theme to coincide with the 50th anniversary of United Way in Barton County.
Sure, this event is a lot of fun and folks can dress the part, casting off the formal trappings of most social galas. They can have a good time. A comedian will tell jokes.
But, what we all must remember is that this is not necessarily a laughing matter and that underlying this party atmosphere is the reason United Way exists. There are 21 agencies that serve the needy that rely in large part of the funds raised by this annual drive. This is no joke.
Our local United Way has grown from covering Great Bend to covering Barton County to including Barton and Pawnee counties. There are volunteers in all the included communities that give their time to this effort. There are even more who give their money to it.
Smith and company have consistently met or exceeded their targets. Why? Smith attributes to the generosity of the countless donors. But, as federal and state dollars dry up, the need for private funding grows more crucial.
Every dollar counts. It seems like a burden times being what they are and many of us struggling to make ends meet, but there are many among us who struggle more.
Smith is quick to note that 99 percent of the money raised stays in the area. That’s a pretty good return on our investment.
Give if and what you can.