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An Echo Press Editorial: Ask yourself: What if I volunteered?

By the Echo Press Editorial Board

United Way
One of the many projects of the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties involves putting new books in the hands of young children to promote literacy.
File photo
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What if…

Only two words but they can stir the imagination and lead to powerful revelations.

Those two words were also selected by the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties as its new fundraising campaign theme.

The United Way is encouraging people to ask themselves:

What if I volunteered?

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What if we provided mental health services, barrier free, for those who need it?

What if I got involved?

What if together we could create a change in Douglas and Pope counties?

The emphasis on volunteering, with help from the United Way, is making a difference – not only in the programs and causes the volunteering supports but also with the volunteers themselves.

While making presentations about their work, the United Way quotes a volunteer: “I first started volunteering three years ago because I thought spending a little time with a client would brighten up their life. Three years later, I have to admit that I have received so much happiness spending time with my client. Before the pandemic, we visited on the phone and went to lunch at the Senior Center once a week. During the pandemic, we talked on the phone and I wrote to her. We are now able to go for rides, drive through for her favorite coffee, and do a little shopping. I believe I truly do brighten up her life. I know my life is brighter.”

The United Way plays a vital role in making our community a brighter, better place to live. Just some of the programs it is involved in:

Health programs. The United Way partners with SingleCare to provide free prescription drug discount cards.

Education. Programs include the Day of Caring, Stuff the Bus and the Traveling Tree House.

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Financial stability. Programs include Backpack Attack, Coat Distribution, Equipped to Work, Holiday Gift Program, Hope Haven to shelter homeless people, and mobile food drops.

United Way works to create change by providing grants and offering programs that impact health, education and financial stability. Last year, it made 26,000+ touchpoints locally through its own programs and the programs it invests in. It fundraises through events and workplace campaigns to be able to support its mission and in turn, the community.

If you’ve never given to the United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties, now is a good time to start. If you have given in the past, now is a good time to increase your donations.

One easy way to donate is to authorize your employer to deduct a small amount of your paycheck on a weekly, bi-weekly, two times a month or monthly basis. United Way has forms that easily take you through the process.

Even if it’s only a couple of dollars that you may not notice, your support can make a big difference. Consider this: 99 cents of every dollar stays here, in Douglas and Pope County. A $5 donation provides a bag of food to a hungry student for the weekend. A $10 per pay period sends 12 kids back to school with new backpacks full of needed school supplies. A donation of $20 provides food to a local family each month.

There are other ways to help too. Go to the United Way website –uwdp.org – to find out how to volunteer, attend fundraising events, donate now, learn about its programs, find position openings with the organization or get involved in other ways.

The United Way gives so much to the communities it helps. What if everyone who is reading this gives something back?

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By the Echo Press Editorial board
by the Echo Press Editorial Board