Make a dollar go a long way

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 26, 2007

In a few days, having given and received generously with friends and loved ones, let us all consider giving something back to our community.

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is timely for giving. The spirit of generosity that marks the Christmas season lingers for a few days before giving way to the cold reality of mortgage payments and Visa bills. There also are practical benefits to making a charitable contribution before Dec. 31 — namely the opportunity to lighten your 2007 tax burden.

Perhaps you have a single charity or cause about which you’re passionate. Give a donation. Or if you’d like to cover a wider spectrum with your dollars, consider giving to my favorite non-profit organization: the United Way.

A dollar given to the Franklin-Southampton County chapter touches many organizations and thousands of people right here in our community. There’s something especially satisfying about knowing that you’re donation has that kind of reach.

Consider carefully the following list of United Way beneficiaries and the people — perhaps many you know — whose lives are enriched by their services:

American Red Cross, Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, Catholic Charities, Center for Hope and New Beginnings, Child and Family Services, the Children’s Center, Children’s Home Society, Children’s Resources, Cooperative Ministries, Edmarc, Food Bank of Southeast Virginia, Genieve Shelter, Girl Scouts, Grazing Acres, Habitat for Humanity, High Street Seniors, Make a Wish Foundation, Oak Street Seniors, Rawls and Ruth Campbell libraries, Salvation Army, Senior Services of Southeast Virginia, Sickle Cell Foundation, Franklin Southampton County Charity Fund, Virginia Legal Aid Society and the Camp YMCA.

A donor also can rest assured that his money is being spent properly. The United Way has an extensive screening process for its beneficiary agencies and holds them accountable for how United Way money is spent. As a citizen and as a newspaper publisher, I get requests every week for monetary donations. I don’t have time to check out the legitimacy of every organization and cause. With the United Way, I don’t worry about being scammed.

Ed Pickup writes eloquently elsewhere on this page about bridging the gap. No matter our status or income level, gaps exist all around us. Each of us has the opportunity to bridge the gap with someone less fortunate.

Last time I checked the big thermometer at College and Armory drives, the Franklin-Southampton chapter was short of its 2007 campaign goal. Let’s work collectively, in the last days of this season of generosity, to put the campaign over the top — and make 2008 a little brighter for our fellow man.

Steve Stewart is publisher of The Tidewater News. His e-mail address is The United Way’s mailing address is P.O. Box 366, Franklin, VA 23851