The meaning of charity begins at home

By Lisa Pfeiffer

The meaning of the word Charity is an act of kindness or good will, providing help to those in need and being tolerant and non-judgmental of others. It is the foundation of the United Way. Our mission is to improve people’s lives through caring for their needs in our communities. Charity.

Are there really needs? You bet. We are not talking about need in the big cities of New York, Albany, Buffalo or even third world nations. We are talking Fulton County; Gloversville, Johnstown, and all the rural towns, villages and hamlets in between, where about 55,000 people make their home, and where one in four families are living at, or below the poverty level, right here, right now. Your local United Way donations stay here and work here, unless you designate your gift to go somewhere else. Even a large percent of our overhead is spent with local Fulton County businesses and employees.

So, who does United Way of Fulton County help? Who are those in need? Your friends, your neighbors, your fellow residents, co-workers and maybe even your own family member. United Way touches all ages across the spectrum. What are those needs? Food, fuel, rental assistance to prevent homelessness, safety from Domestic Violence, elderly and child abuse, elderly health and mental health education, for starters. We currently have more than a dozen programs with partner agencies providing some of these services, and more, in our area. As a community, Fulton County has an infrastructure of resources, if you will, to deal with these issues collaboratively, before, and as they become critical. We may not be able to prevent these needs from happening but with the communities’ help we can prepare to meet those needs as they arise.

Americans are the most generous people in the world and Fulton County residents are no exception. We recognize and acknowledge that fact. We are grateful for it. But in uncertain times such as these, the needs escalate. We as a community have got to be committed to aggressively continue to meet the challenge. United Way is struggling this year to meet our goal of $150,000 in this year’s community campaign, which ends on August 31, 2019. The goal is formidable, but not impossible. We are falling short.

Many local employers have historically offered their employees the ability to contribute through payroll deduction, in addition to generous corporate gifts. We are so grateful to be benefitting from them. However, those numbers have dwindled significantly. The significant decrease in businesses and local industries’ contributions have significantly impacted our campaign in a negative way. Enabling an employee to give a few dollars from each paycheck, adds up to a significant gift at the end of the year that helps our community be a better place. Employees should be at least given the option to donate to United Way through payroll deduction, or a one time, workplace gift. Businesses and industries who have local employees, some of whom have benefitted from United Way programs have ceased to contribute. Local businesses and industries have moved their corporate offices out of Fulton County. While there is still a local working presence in these larger companies, United Way has been impacted considerably without their support and that adds up to thousands and thousands of dollars.

We, at United Way are thankful for every dollar, from every source. No donation is too small, and every contribution is important.

You face many choices in where you wish to direct your charitable contributions. More requests seem to come in the mail every day. Everyone has their hand out. Please consider helping the United Way and invest in our community with a donation. It is a good thing; the right thing, to help others. If we don’t give while we can, who will give when we are unable to, and we are in need? Charity begins at home, our home, Fulton County.

Your generosity can have a powerful and long-lasting impact on the lives of those who receive services from the partner agencies funded by those United Way donations. Without your help, funding to these agencies may be deeply impacted.

I believe in the mission and vision of United Way, which is to identify and provide leadership and financial support for essential community programs and services in Fulton County. I am happy to be able to give of my time and talents to help our community be a better place, one family at a time. It can be defeating at times as we struggle to sustain and grow the campaign. But those frustrations are offset by the many wonderful, generous, and caring people I have met; both donors and human service agency partners. You are part of the treasure that is this community and county. You are why I choose to follow my passion and to be involved. Your generous example inspires me and others to give and give back. I am proud to call Fulton County my home.

I was raised to believe that if you need help, to ask. I’m asking you to help the United Way of Fulton County, today.

United Way offices are located at 110-112 North Main Street in Gloversville. For more information call us at (518) 725-9817, or via email at unitedwayFC2008@gmail.com

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