But we must remember United Way needs more than our time to address widespread poverty and its unintended consequences in our communities. This one-day volunteerism extravaganza kicks off United Way of King County’s campaign to raise $111 million over the next year.
Co-chairs Dan and Annie Wilson, the retired Mariners catcher and his wife, a former teacher, say they hope to maintain and expand services to end homelessness, feed the hungry and level the playing field for children from low-income families.
The charity is slowly climbing its way back to pre-recession fundraising levels, which reached $122.4 million in 2006. Last year, it raised $103 million, a sign that giving is still down as businesses and individuals tightened their belts. Meanwhile, unemployment persists. The demand for assistance has grown.
United Way is a lifeline to nearly 200 nonprofits in the region that share the same goals. One-in-3 King County residents benefits from a project funded or run by United Way, according to the organization.
Although King County is the top fundraising region for United Way in the nation, Chief Executive Jon Fine says there remains an unmet need in nearly every charitable service area.
Local homeless advocates estimate about 8,000 people are on the streets or in shelters. Food-stamp usage remains high. The Parent-Child Home Program, focused on preparing low-income kids before they start school, has grown from providing assistance to 160 families in 2011 to 500 this year.Fine estimates a total of 2,000 families qualify for the program.
By giving a little bit now, we can save on long-term costs related to crime, alcoholism and other societal ills caused by poverty.
Donate to United Way by visiting www.uwkc.org. You can also mail a donation to 720 Second Ave., Seattle, WA 98104.