Area United Ways need your help

Time is winding down on this year’s campaigns of the United Ways that serve our region.

That’s why events like Thursday’s United Way of Jefferson County web-a-thon are important.

The web-a-thon, now in its third year, is built around the United Way’s annual phone bank. During the event, which will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., volunteers will be making calls to help round up every possible penny.

Those who choose to participate by watching the web-a-thon on the Internet, will be able to learn about the United Way and the various agencies it serves and make an electronic donation.

It’s an event the United Way has come to look forward to. Campaign officials have said it helps to energize the volunteers to make the final push as the campaign heads toward its Feb. 15 conclusion. As of last Thursday’s report luncheon, this year’s campaign stood at 77 percent of its $440,000 goal.

That’s means the volunteers headed up by campaign Chair Anthony Mougianis, board President Dave France and Executive Director Beth Rupert-Warren will have their work cut out for them during the next few weeks.

The same goes for officials with the Weirton United Way, who are in the process of wrapping up their campaign, which has a goal of $260,000. So far, volunteers with the campaign have collected about 80 percent of that number. The United Way of the Upper Ohio Valley, meanwhile, which serves Brooke County, continues to work toward meeting its goal of $777,777.

The web-a-thon is just one event area United Ways have planned for the next few weeks. The Weirton United Way, for instance, is planning its annual Pre-Super Bowl Party from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Serbian-American Cultural Center. That event will be the final fundraising event of the campaign, Executive Director Kristin Bowman-Cross has said. Volunteers with that campaign, including Chair Don Gianni Jr. and board President John Frankovitch, also are working hard to reach their goal.

Not meeting those goals is an unacceptable scenario. If the campaigns fall short, board members will be forced to go to member agencies and inform them they will not be receiving as much money as they had anticipated. And faced with a budget cut like that, those agencies very likely would have to curtail the services they provide to members of our community.

While time is running short, it’s important to know that area residents still can do their parts to ensure the goals are met and the vital services can continue to be provided.

If you have already given to a United Way campaign, know that your contribution is very much appreciated. If you have yet to make a contribution, we would remind you that your donation remains very much needed.

You’re friends and neighbors are counting on you.