Build stronger community with a gift to United Way

United Way of the Lowcountry this week reached nearly 60 percent of its $2.6 million goal, but there's more work to do and you can help.

If you haven't yet donated to this year's campaign, please consider doing so. Every donation, no matter how big or small, makes a difference.

Unfortunately, demand for critical services provided by its 39 member agencies won't fall off even if fundraising efforts fall short.

Those services include such basics as emergency help for rent, utilities, food and medicine.

The Deep Well Project on Hilton Head Island and Bluffton Self Help report continuing problems keeping their food pantries stocked. It's a double-edged sword: Donations are slower coming in and demand is greater than in years past. So far this year, Bluffton Self Help has given out 39,350 cans of food, an increase of about 35 percent over the same time last year, executive director Jenny Haney said in late October.

Deep Well's executive director Betsy Doughtie said, "Our pantry shelves are very sparse, and we're having a rough time keeping them full. We continue to get food from our local churches, but it's still not enough to keep up with the need."

The agencies' effort to keep up with demand reflect the continuing struggles of many in an economy that might be picking up, but still isn't close to pre-recession days.

But the help United Way agencies provide doesn't end with meeting basic needs. They provide a broad array of services that help make this community better and stronger for all of us, including:

  • Providing food, clothing and shelter in times of crisis and disaster recovery efforts, and toys and food during the holidays.
  • Training for parents, tutoring and recreation, affordable child care, teen pregnancy prevention, swimming and water safety classes.
  • Affordable housing, shelter for abused adults and children, safe septic tanks and clean drinking water, literacy programs.
  • Meals for seniors, delivery of surplus food, help for patients and families coping with AIDS/HIV and counseling for caregivers and the victims of violent crime.
  • The approaching holidays are an annual reminder that many of us have much to be thankful for. The United Way campaign offers a chance to show your gratitude in a very tangible way while helping others. Please give.