The Harvey County United Way 2008 campaign officially ended Dec. 31, receiving a total of $308,000 in donations. Every dollar donated is another reminder of good people in this county — people who care about the community and look for ways to improve it.

Those on the campaign committee invested many hours and much energy into this endeavor, and we commend their selflessness and commitment to the community. Lindsey Frasier, director of the United Way, also deserves recognition for her leadership role and year-round efforts.

While the total was down from its $325,000 goal, given the economy and other factors, it’s still a significant amount of funds to be poured into partner agencies.

But those partner agencies have significant needs. The Harvey County United Way has 23 partner agencies, but 27 have requested funding for 2009. The agencies supported through United Way dollars are part of the everyday fabric of this county — Meals on Wheels, the Newton Area Senior Center, Hesston Child Care Center, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, CASA, Heart to Heart Child Advocacy Center, Health Ministries Clinic and the Salvation Army, to name a few. These vital organizations need this vital funding.

These are hard times for many charities, both at home and across the nation. Many are seeing shortages at the very time requests for assistance are rising.

It’s imperative in the midst of these uncertain times, we do not hunker down, isolate ourselves and exude stinginess. Rather, the uncertainty should remind all of us how fragile our station can be, how we can easily become the one in need rather than the one with means to give.

And don’t forget, it’s never too late to give. Donations can still be sent to the United Way. Checks can be made out to Harvey County United Way and mailed to 103 E. Broadway St., Newton, KS 67114. You can also donate online at www. Just click on the “Donate” tab on the menu on the left.

So thank you to all who chose to give and who continue to invest in our community — through United Way and other meaningful avenues — even in these difficult economic times. Kudos to you for realizing that tough times are the wrong time to stop giving.

— The editorial board