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United Appeal: This time it's personal
Small gifts add up to help local service agencies  

Mar 20, 2008  
By Tasha Attaway  

Ohio University faculty and staff have been contributing to the United Appeal campaign since 1955. I have done so each year since I began working for the university in 1994, but my reasons for giving have nothing to do with the university. While I appreciate the fact that working here enables me to take advantage of payroll deduction -- a small amount is automatically taken from each paycheck to total my full donation -- I give because I know that, in doing so, I am helping to improve someone's life.

I started contributing to United Appeal because of a friend who worked at an area food pantry.  I was upset when he told me how they struggled to make ends meet. When I saw the Athens County Food Pantry listed as one of the 13 United Appeal member agencies, I immediately marked my pledge card to send my donation to them. Then I started reading about the other agencies and was touched by their purpose and the needs they met.

Later, I became involved with Athens County Habitat for Humanity. Many people are not aware of the great discrepancy in housing quality that exists in Athens County. Travel far enough and the campus and student housing yield to large homes on hillsides. But keep going just a few miles and you will see dilapidated trailers that are home to families that dream of a safe place to live. Unfortunately, they have no idea how they can make that dream a reality because they don't earn enough money to qualify for a loan.

I have watched firsthand as faces reflecting depression and hopelessness gave way to anticipation for the future as family members realized that the people at Habitat valued them enough to make sure that they had a safe home. Transforming their homes is just the beginning of transforming their lives. And that home is not a gift -- the recipients work to build the home, which brings pride of ownership and equips them to maintain the home as well.

My commitment to United Appeal later became even more personal. I was forced to undergo a major surgical procedure and without several blood transfusions, I would not have survived. I came through that experience with a new appreciation for the Red Cross and a determination to give to that agency however I could. I regularly donate blood and designate the Red Cross to receive a portion of my United Appeal donation.

I was very happy to learn that I could split my donation between as many of the member agencies as I wished. My donations may be small, but the "pennies make dollars" principle is evident. In fact, if each Ohio University Athens campus employee who has not given to the current campaign pledged $1 a month via payroll deduction before the March 31 deadline, the university's goal of $105,000 would be met.

Ohio University faculty and staff can give by:



Related Links
United Appeal: http://www.unitedappeal.org/ 
Campus extends United Appeal deadline: http://www.ohio.edu/outlook/07-08/March/400.cfm  

Published: Mar 20, 2008 11:00 AM  

Tasha Attaway
Tasha Attaway


Stories from United Appeal partner agencies 

Ohio University's Athens campus 2008 United Appeal campaign has been extended to March 31 to give members of the campus community the opportunity to participate in the drive that benefits 13 local nonprofit organizations. Here are a couple of examples of how your gift helps change lives.

American Red Cross Athens County Chapter

Red Cross volunteers responded to a fire last year at the Miller family home in Athens. The family of six returned home from O'Bleness Memorial Hospital following the birth of their fourth son and found their house on fire. Three fire departments were brought in to bring the blaze under control.

The Red Cross was called to the scene and quickly helped the family find a place to stay and provided food and clothing.  "I don't know how they got there, but in less than an hour there were Red Cross people sitting there and they had all this stuff there for us," said Danette Miller. Red Cross volunteers continued to stay in touch with the family and helped them keep going when Todd Miller had to be hospitalized with pneumonia shortly after the fire.

Red Cross volunteers are trained and led by the two paid staff members of our local county chapter. Donations to United Appeal fund $22,470 of the agency's annual budget.

Adapted from Crossroads, the Red Cross newsletter, fall 2006

The Gathering Place

Hunter*, a Gathering Place member, remembers the help he received from Gathering Place staff in finding an apartment in Athens. While never an easy task, this was especially difficult for Hunter due to his mental illness and limited income.

He is now happily living on his own, and he regularly enjoys sharing meals with friends and staff at The Gathering Place. The meals he helps prepare there supplement the food he is able to purchase and expose him to healthier eating options, including a new pesto recipe made with basil grown at The Gathering Place's new organic garden. While the pesto seemed "too green" at first, one taste made Hunter a fan.

United Appeal provides $4,738 annually to help people such as Hunter find encouragement and support at The Gathering Place.

Adapted from The News Gathering newsletter, fall 2007

* Names have been changed to protect privacy.



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