Help United Way continue to make a local difference

United Way of Sampson County makes a difference.

The numbers bear that out. Since its inception in the early 1990s, the non-profit organization has put over $3.5 million directly back into our communities, touching the lives of thousands of men, women and children from all walks of life and of every race.

It is, without question, an organization that returns its good fortune to the community.

And even though it’s part of the national United Way organization, it is important to note that less than 2 percent of the money the local chapter raises each year leaves Sampson.

Really, the right to use the United Way name is the most significant national relationship between the local 16-member board and the national organization. All pertinent decisions about how the local UW’s money is spent each year is made by that board, consisting of community leaders from across Sampson.

So, in essence, money contributed locally is spent locally, and decisions about how that money is disseminated is made by local residents focused on being good stewards of the funds hard-working individuals and dedicated businesses and industries here provide each year.

It is why, we are certain, industries like Prestage Farms, Smithfield, Sampson County and Clinton City schools and many others continue to grow their contributions, much of it made by hard-working employees who believe in giving back to their communities. Industrial leaders back our local United Way because they see the impact their dollars make by way of member agencies such as the Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Program, 4-H, the Firefighters Association, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, just to name a few.

And despite skeptics who believe national trends over local results, United Way’s contributions here can be seen through the wheelchair ramps built for shut-in residents; the affordable, often free mammograms provided to residents who, otherwise, couldn’t afford the test; the Girl Scout uniform worn by a poverty-stricken youngster; and the heroic young boy who, because of a Firefighter Association-taught lesson, was able to save his home from the ravages of fire.

The heartwarming stories abound, all made possible because of the local commitment made by United Way and those who so willingly support the local organization’s efforts every year.

“The money raised in Sampson County stays here to improve the quality of life for residents living in our county,” attests Nancy Carr, local UW executive director, every time the subject is broached. She knows better than most where every dollar lands.

Carr and the United Way board are tremendous community supporters, themselves, and believe in returning UW’s money to Sampson, as it should be.

And give back is exactly what United Way of Sampson County does, spending local money locally and making a significant difference with those dollars every year.

October 15 marks the official kickoff of what we hope will be another very successful year for our United Way. That success, in large part, depends on each of us reaching into our own pockets and giving what we can.

We applaud United Way, its agencies and most particularly those who believe in the cause and its local impact and give generously year after year.

It proves what we’ve known all along — when it comes to local giving, none do it any better than Sampson’s United Way.