As you probably know, the Harvey County United Way campaign is in full swing, and I want to encourage people to give generously. I only began working with United Way when I joined CASA: A Voice for Children in February of this year. Prior to that, I never really understood what United Way does, and it makes me wonder how many other people out there are in the same boat.

United Way exists, in large part, to fund the organizations in the community who help make Harvey County the great place that it is. It’s easy to think that you don’t need United Way unless you’re poor, or homeless, or abused, or sick, or hungry, or unemployed, or injured, or young, or old. And if you don’t need United Way, then why give to them. Right?

First of all, take a second to think about what your community would be like if there were no organizations who cared for those demographics. No Meals on Wheels. No Red Cross. No Community Playschool. No senior centers. Now, if you want to write big, individual checks to all of these organizations to ensure that they are supported, that’s fine. And by the way, add CASA to your list.

But if you don’t ... or can’t ... or won’t ... then please write a check to United Way, or contact them to see how else you can help. The population of Harvey County is not going to be without these needs anytime soon, and United Way funding may be the only reason that these important public services are available.

Second, use your rational mind for a moment to think about the chances that you are never going to be any of those things. There is no one in Newton — no one in Harvey County — virtually no one who isn’t a flood, a tornado, a house fire, a lay-off, a car accident, an identity theft, or an economic downturn away from needing the services of at least one of the 24 organizations served by YOUR United Way office.

United Way exists to serve those in need. And as a society, we are called to do just that. Please, please, fulfill that charge that we have all been given, and support United Way.

Eric Litwiller Executive Director CASA: A Voice for Children