By Casey S. Elliott
With the economy ailing, efforts such as the United Appeal for Athens County campaign that serves 13 local nonprofit organizations are all the more important.
And this year's co-chairs for the campus drive -- Vice President for Student Affairs Kent Smith and Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration Terry Conry -- are asking members of the Ohio University community to do what they can to help.
Pledge materials for this year's United Appeal campaign were distributed to Ohio University faculty and staff through campus mail last week.
The university effort raised close to $85,000 last year. This year, Smith and Conry hope the university community can contribute $105,000 toward the overall county goal of $205,000.
"Hard times have hit families and organizations across the country, including Athens County," Smith said. "The organizations that receive United Appeal funding provide important services -- services that in times such as this are more important than ever."
Individuals assisted by the following agencies will benefit from this year's campaign:
- American Red Cross Athens County Chapter
- Athens County Habitat for Humanity
- Appalachian Community Visiting Nurse Association, Hospice and Health Services
- Retired Senior Volunteer Program through Housing for Athens Senior Residents
- HAVAR Inc.
- Athens County Food Pantry
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of Athens County
- Girl Scouts Seal of Ohio Council
- Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council
- Tri-County Community Mental Health and Counseling's Epilepsy Services
- The Gathering Place
- Family Health Care Services Inc.
- United Seniors of Athens County's Prescription Help Program
Ohio University employees have been significant contributors to United Appeal since it began in 1955.
"It's always important for those of us in the university community, who are fortunate compared with some of our neighbors in southeast Ohio, to help," Conry said. "You don't have to go very far outside Athens to see a great need."
Employees can donate to United Appeal by using the pledge card sent through campus mail or visiting the county United Appeal Web site at www.unitedappeal.org. Donations may be made by payroll deduction, check or credit card.