Our view: All the 'Way'

— It is true of most any community that its underprivileged, underserved populations face issues that rely on the public's good will to remedy. It also is true that, no matter how giving a community may be, constant charitable requests can be deflating to the pocketbook, and test wills.

The dollar doesn't go as far as it used to, and people work hard for their money. They have earned the right to spend it as they wish, without being chastised for their decision.

The editorial board knows and respects this.

That is why, as of now, we are not ready to weigh-in on the two tax proposals - the Moffat County School District and The Memorial Hospital - that will go before voters in the November general election.

However, we believe the current United Way campaign drive falls under an entirely different category, and encourage the community to support this wholly worthwhile endeavor.

The agency, which began its Moffat County efforts in 1978, launched its 30th campaign Monday with its loftiest goal to date - raising $475,000 to be distributed to about 50 local nonprofit agencies. Agencies receiving United Way money range from health and safety groups such as Advocates-Crisis Support Services and the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association to youth organizations helping local children play baseball, hockey and soccer, among numerous others.

What's the difference between United Way's request and that of the School District and hospital? It's entirely up to each local resident how much money he or she chooses to give.

United Way Director Corrie Ponikvar, who is a current editorial board member but was temporarily recused for this editorial, said the theme of any United Way drive is this:

Giving a little helps a lot.

In other words, any dollar figure people choose to donate - whether that be a few dollars or a few dollars more - goes to a worthy cause and adds up to make a big difference at the end of the day.

It is believed that one in every three residents benefit in some way from United Way fundraising, Ponikvar said.

So, look to the person on your right, look to the person on your left. One of you is benefiting from the good will and generosity of the public.

Now would be a terrible time for community members to get a sudden case of alligator arms when digging into their pockets for donations. The one constant for implementing change in people's lives is having the monetary resources available to do so.

As sad as it is, money is the bottom-line deciding factor for helping those in need, or simply, helping people because it's the right thing to do.

The editorial board realizes that the prospect of two tax increases in November may be daunting to some concerning their personal finances. And, the board reiterates, we understand this concern and respect it completely.

However, we also believe what Ponikvar said to be true: A small contribution, even $10 per month for a year, is a small drop in the bucket that many could afford without feeling any financial sting whatsoever.

The editorial board encourages people to consider the agencies - and more importantly, the people the agencies serve.

This fall, we ask that residents donate what they can to the United Way drive.

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