We are nearing the end of the year and also nearing the end of the United Way fund raising campaign. Campaign is a combination of excitement and stress for me. I am always so excited as company campaigns and individual donations arrive at our office, but also stressed since I worry about where the campaign total will fall. For me the final tally is not about the money, but rather what the money translates into. At United Way it is a very simple formula, money in equals services out. By the same token, not enough money in results in some very difficult decisions for us, what services don’t we provide? Do we not feed hungry children? Do we not shelter homeless individuals in the bitter cold? Perhaps we shouldn’t provide a break for a husband caring for his wife with dementia? Or maybe a family living in a domestic violence situation should remain in that home? None of these or many other service reductions are good options, and none of them are acceptable. What makes it even more difficult is the sheer volume of individuals affected by United Way and the decisions that we make. Last year over 12,000 individuals were served by programs and partners of our United Way. That is a whole lot of people being affected by the results of the campaign.
All donations at whatever level make an impact at United Way. When United Way loses a donation as little as .50 cents a week, or $26, for the year it translates into our ability to not shelter a homeless one night of the week, each week for the year. As I am writing this it is -7 degrees outside, and I know that night of shelter can sometimes be the difference between life and death. A loss of a donation of $1.00 a week, or $52 a year, means that one of our senior citizens that relies on a home-delivered meal will not eat for a week.
The best of all scenarios is that United Way is not faced with making any of these tough decisions. Remember donations in equal services out. Donations to United Way stay local and when you choose to give you are providing meals and a warm bed on a cold night right here in our community. Donations may be mailed to: Marshfield Area United Way, PO Box 771, Marshfield, WI, or dropped off at the United Way office at 156 S Central Avenue. A secure donation can also be made online with your credit card at www.marshfieldareaunitedway.org.
Paula Jero, Executive Director
Marshfield Area United Way