The 2010 Sikeston Area United Way campaign got under way this week with a larger fund-raising goal and more agencies participating. We hope the United Way reaches their goal and is able - once again - to help with the funding of some very worthwhile programs.
You probably have not noticed, but several United Way agencies in this area have closed their doors through the years. It takes a massive effort with several volunteers to conduct a United Way drive. And for some communities, the effort was simply too much.
To the credit of the Sikeston United Way, our local effort has expanded substantially through the years in terms of the geographic area served. This year is no different. Additional counties have been included in the local campaign this year which should generate more interest and hopefully, more fundraising.
Many of you are probably unaware but the Sikeston United Way was in danger of closing shop back in the late 1970s. The fundraising had stalled and volunteers were scarce. It was decided to end the long-running program.
But thanks to the efforts of the late Keith Zeigenhorn, the campaign continued with new blood, new agencies and a renewed sense of purpose. That enthusiasm has continued through the years and today the local United Way is strong and growing.
Sikeston residents are generous. Given dozens or more local needs each year, Sikeston residents are quick to respond. We have no reason to believe this year will be any different.
It sounds simple to say "Support Your United Way" but it also makes sense. The agencies served by the United Way depend on these funds to provide their services. And without exception, all of the agencies take those funds and give them back directly into the community.
One closing note. And this is no negative reflection on the local United Way or our community. It's just a note to illustrate the changes in this region.
Back several years ago, I had the pleasure of chairing the United Way effort for a number of years. Few of my past activities on behalf of this community provided as much satisfaction or pleasure.
But back then - in the 1980s - we always marveled that the Cape Girardeau United Way was so very successful. During my tenure, I recall our goal was around $65,000 while the Cape United Way was raising $250,000. We envied their success and their ability to draw from Proctor and Gamble, the university and their two medical facilities.
Today our local goal has been raised to $85,000. But I note that the Cape goal this year is $1.2 million.
Congratulations to all of those United Way chapters for their success. We hope it continues once again this year.