Support United Way as it paints a brighter tomorrow 
BY KATHLEEN NALLEY • November 4, 2010 -appeared in The News Messenger

Renewed enthusiasm for the United Way's annual campaign shows the common sense generosity of this community. Our theme, "Lend a Hand to Paint a Brighter Tomorrow," is a timely reminder that local agencies that help people in Sandusky County can use this assistance right now to bring hope and service to our neighbors, families and friends.

One donation is spread among deserving agencies and programs, or can be designated to a particular one at donor request. This is an efficient and locally driven process. United Way's First Call for Help is a prime example of how our county coordinates services to reduce duplication.

Programs like Community Christmas, the Clergy Fund and the Cancer Care Fund match donor dollars to deserving families in our county and stretch dollars because knowledgeable referrals to lesser-known programs can be made by the director or volunteer. Cancer patients in active treatment can learn about a nutrition supplement program, so help they requested to offset that cost can be directed to another pressing need. Coordinating holiday giving will make it possible for more families experiencing hard times to have presents and food baskets.

My own family, over time, has been touched by the many United Way Agencies. When the children were young, they enjoyed Camp Fire, Scouting, the YMCA swimming and sports programs, and watched friends at the fair showcase skills learned through 4-H.

When my daughter, a cancer survivor, was sent home from the hospital, a health department nurse provided us home care and instruction. Other friends with health needs benefited from the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Kidney Foundation's educational programs, which were specific to their diagnoses.

My students were able to attend a summer program at School of Hope with support of the Council for Developmental Disabilities and others participated in Kinder Camp, some under the watchful eye of CASA volunteers.

My husband and I have learned about first aid and CPR at the American Red Cross and witnessed their emergency assistance during summer tragedies. Just looking at the list of agencies and programs, we know they touch our lives, our neighbors and many others.

Please support the valuable work of the United Way, and give generously to "Lend a Hand to Paint a Brighter Tomorrow" for Sandusky County residents.