Brown County residents are presented with a host of opportunities to support worthy causes. But few decisions to make a financial commitment will go further than a gift to the local United Way campaign.

The fund-raising drive for the 14 member agencies officially opens Thursday with the kickoff luncheon at Mabee University Center at Howard Payne.

Some residents may have the mistaken perception that the United Way is focused on generating money. While the agencies must have those funds in order to continue to function, the real purpose behind this effort is the support of agencies and the services they provide. Look carefully at the list of organizations that receive United Way assistance in Brown County, and youíll understand that the majority of residents here are touched by a United Way agency in some way, if not many ways.

Some provide enrichment programs to young people. Others offer crucial services to families with financial needs. Still others provide programs for people with substance abuse or medical concerns. Itís a strong probability that every family in the county is either involved or takes advantage of the services provided by one or more Brown County United Way agency. Supporting the United Way helps ensure that people who need a meal get one, families who need a place for their children to stay while parents work have one, and youngsters looking for structured development programs have one.

While the dollars contributed to the United Way go a long way, remember that they are being divided among many organizations. Any additional dollars a donor can spare make a big difference.

The drive is on to reach the $325,000 goal for 2007. If everyone will make a small gift, the difference it would make in Brown County will be huge.

Brownwood Bulletin