Donations more necessary as community needs climb.

When budget cuts at the state and federal levels leave fewer dollars trickling into local communities, the important work of helping those in need becomes even more difficult.

Without generous donors making up the difference, agencies that help at-risk youth, the elderly, disabled and others must figure out how to manage with fewer resources. That's tough enough when demand for services stays constant, but can be overwhelming when needs rise which is why it's all the more important for those who can help to support the annual Finney County United Way campaign.

This year's campaign goal was set at $550,000, and United Way representatives are busy visiting local workplaces to encourage people to support agencies that touch many lives.

With dollars tight for many, local workers and anyone else who hears the pitch must weigh the value in supporting the fundraising drive. As prospective donors consider how such an investment would pay off in the future, they should look to member agencies for proof every day of the value of a United Way contribution.

The vast array of programs in place for all ages means most everyone will be touched in some way during their lives by a United Way-funded agency in southwest Kansas.

Even those who don't see direct benefit from those programs have friends, colleagues or neighbors who do rely on one or more of the following: Miles of Smiles; Russell Child Development Center; Finney County RSVP; Kansas Children's Service League; Catholic Social Service; Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Program; Smart Start; Playground Program; Family Crisis Services; Spirit of the Plains, CASA; The Salvation Army; Meals on Wheels; Habitat for Humanity; Garden City Family YMCA; Garden City Chapter of the Red Cross; Santa Fe Trail Council of the Boy Scouts of America; Community Day Care Center; United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries; United Cerebral Palsy of Kansas; Big Brothers Big Sisters of Finney and Kearny Counties; and Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.

The need among our friends and neighbors won't wane anytime soon. Given the many good initiatives fueled by United Way funds, people should do their best to support this year's campaign.