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Be a hero
United Way preparing to start annual campaign
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 There are no phone booths or red capes required to be a hero.

The United Way of Central  Kansas will launch its 2016 campaign on Saturday, Aug. 15, with a goal to be reached by December. 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 “Superheroes in our Community,” linking the efforts of local agencies and volunteers to the feats of such characters as Superman.

Sure, this event is a lot of fun and folks can have a good time. A ventriloquist 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 19 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. Indeed, there are co-chairs representing Great Bend, Ellinwood and Larned.

But, 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.

Dale Hogg