With just over two weeks remaining before Christmas Eve, the time to make decisions on presents is at hand. And while many presents have the potential of giving not only now, but also throughout the year, few of them are more important — and more intensely local — than a gift to the Brown County United Way.

The local campaign is approaching its conclusion this month, with campaigns being conducted at several major local employers and professional groups soon to be wrapped up. United Way officials announced last week that the drive has attained about 70 percent of its $325,000 goal, and that they are optimistic that the target will be attained.

Doing so should be a priority for all Brown County residents who have a little extra to share. The 14 member agencies who benefit from the efforts of the United Way campaign in Brown County touch local people in all walks of life, from young people looking for enrichment programs and activities to help them stay out of trouble, to families in crisis because of substance abuse. The agencies help those with major medical concerns, and who help child care in order for a parent to keep a job. They help make certain that programs are available in the event of a natural disaster, or in the event of a human disaster within a household. They make sure that a hot meal is offered to those who are hungry, and people with special needs receive help.

Unfortunately, the funds raised by United Way are not sufficient to fund the entire budgets of its 14 member agencies, but their services would have to be curtailed significantly if the annual goal falls short. Placing an extra gift in the United Way’s stocking will make certain that the people who depend on its agencies will continue to be able to do so throughout 2008.

Brownwood Bulletin