Support our United Way

Drive around Steamboat Springs and it’s easy to be lulled into a sense of security. Beautiful homes, nice parks and other amenities dot the community’s landscape. You have to look hard to find signs of need.

But while they may not be easy to see, needs still exist. That’s why it is important to support the United Way.

Rout County United Way kicked off its annual campaign last week with a goal of raising $365,000. That’s up from the $326,000 raised last year.

But with charitable donations to organizations not associated with Sept. 11 relief funds down since the terrorist attacks last year and with state and federal cutbacks hurting nonprofit organizations, contributions to the United Way are more important than ever.

Routt County United Way Director Millie Beall said a recent survey of 10 United Way agencies revealed those agencies anticipate a total shortfall of $475,000 in state and federal funding.

“That’s almost half a million not coming in from the state that they expected,” Beall said. “We locally are going to have to step up so we can continue to have those services.”

Routt County United Way funds 26 local agencies that help everyone from infants to the elderly.

Youth baseball leagues receive United Way funding. The Miles for Smiles dental program, which travels to cities around Northwest Colorado to provide dental services to needy children, receives United Way funding. The Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, Horizons, LIFT-UP, the Haven, Humble Ranch, Grand Futures and many other local agencies receive United Way funding.

Chances are, people who don’t receive direct assistance from the United Way know someone who does.

Most local employers have payroll deduction programs that allow their workers to give to the United Way simply and easily. Workers can direct their money to go to specific agencies or simply allow the money to be used wherever the need is greatest.

Routt County has a labor force of about 10,500 people. If every one of those workers gave just $35, the United Way would surpass its 2003 goal. If everyone gave just $50, the campaign would raise more than $500,000.

Unfortunately, history teaches us that not everyone will give.

As you weigh what you can do this year to support the United Way, consider giving generously. You would be hard pressed to find a better way to support your community.

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