The United Way of Howard County does so much for this community it would be difficult, in this space, to describe even a fraction of the things United Way donations accomplish.

Think what Kokomo and Howard County would lose if there were no Court Appointed Special Advocates looking after the interests of children involved in court hearings because of abuse, neglect or custody disputes.

What if kids here didn’t have Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops? What if the YMCA and the Carver Community Center weren’t around to provide healthy, spiritual places for families to participate in activities? What if The Salvation Army, Food Finders Food Bank and Red Cross weren’t able to assist the less fortunate?

With United Way so intimately involved in meeting the needs of those Kokomo residents who were displaced by the tornadoes of Aug. 24, 2016, we wanted to remind the community to make a donation or pledge during the organization’s annual fundraising campaign. It kicks off during the Labor & Community Luncheon at UAW 685, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 7. And unlike many charities, the United Way is a local organization that distributes donations to local agencies. Your donation dollars stay at home to help the people with whom you live. They may even come back to you.

From teaching people to read through the Literacy Coalition to helping families in crisis through the Family Service Association, United Way dollars are an integral part of the ties that bind the community. We would need the Ghost of Christmas Future to show what Kokomo would be like without the United Way, but we can guarantee the loss would be heavy.

We’ve already mentioned a few of the agencies that rely on United Way donations. Others include Bona Vista Programs, which helps people overcome disabilities, and Samaritan Caregivers, which helps the elderly with everyday tasks. The United Way also funds Project Access, which provides health care to the uninsured, the Visiting Nurse Service, which promotes independence through hospice and home health care, and the Mental Health Association, which advocates improved care for people suffering mental illness and support for their families.

Please consider making a donation in the coming months. The United Way isn’t a big government bureaucracy; it’s people helping each other.

Kokomo Tribune editorial board

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