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Help a neighbor – Give to United Way

It seems the world is full of "good causes" these days.

Saturday, October 02, 1999

It seems the world is full of "good causes" these days.

A day hardly goes by without someone asking for a donation.

Unfortunately, most of those causes sound good, but we have no way individually of determining whether or not that is true.

The United Way – which came home to Lawrence County this year – is the area’s watchdog in making sure approved charitable organizations really are practicing what they are preaching.

Tim Selb, lifelong Lawrence County resident and long-time supporter of good causes that range from the Catholic schools’ annual charity fair to countless other civic endeavors, is chairing the local drive this year.

Tim is no stranger to the importance of United Way and previously served as a campaign chairman before the Lawrence County United Way was incorporated into the United Way of the River Cities.

"The philosophy of the new Lawrence County advisory board is to bring the campaign back into local hands it’s important that local people feel we are controlling our own campaign," Tim said this week.

"The money we raise stays here," he stressed.

When Tim took over the local campaign, he started by looking at a list of small businesses – those with fewer than 25 employees – and immediately, he was startled by the statistics.

"Out of 289 businesses, only 32 made a donation to the United Way last year," Tim said. "That means that 257 businesses probably were not even approached."

That is where Tim and the local advisory board want to make a real difference this year.

It is their goal to make sure all 289 businesses receive personal visits and learn first-hand about the importance of the United Way in Lawrence County.

Many local residents probably don’t realize that the funds raised last year in Lawrence County did not equal the allocations made to local agencies and groups. In fact, $34,646 more than was actually raised came to our county last year through the United Way.

The organizations that benefit from our donations provide vital services, such as the City Welfare Mission, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. Facilities such as the Well Child Clinic depend on financial assistance from the United Way, and important activities such as the county’s annual Special Olympics might have to reduce the lives they touch if funding were reduced.

Tim believes – and rightly so – that if we all pull an oar, the load will be lighter and the results more dramatic.

"We are asking for volunteers to contact these businesses," he said. "It is important that contact be on a personal basis.

"Of course, it is not realistic to expect that a handful of people can contact everybody. That’s why we need a large number of volunteers. That way, each volunteer will only have four or five small businesses on his or her list."

All of us certainly can make time to call on four or five people. It is such a small investment of time that has the potential to reap huge rewards for our friends and neighbors in need.

If you can assist or would like more information, please contact Tim Selb at Firstar – 532-0363.

You won’t regret it.

Jennifer Allen is publisher of The Ironton Tribune.