The Area Wide United Way is becoming as well-known for its creative campaign kickoffs as it is for its willingness to set challenging fund-raising goals and meet them.
Those who attended last week's kickoff event lunched on brats and side dishes provided by Old Bavarian Sausage, a Jackson business that happily supports the United Way.
Ushered into the lobby of the Cape West 14 Cine by Cape Girardeau police officers, the Blues Brothers -- actually Dan Berry and Jeff Crain in costume -- sang "Soul Man," substituting such lines as "give me, give me some money," instead of "lovin'."
A direct approach, to be sure, but one necessary when trying to collect funds for so many important charitable organizations and when trying to help so many needy people.
The list of those organizations, and more information about them, is on the local United Way Web site at www.areawideunitedway.org.
It is a list seen frequently in this area but one that bears repeating:
American Red Cross, First Call for Help, Jackson Ministerial Alliance, Safe House for Women, Salvation Army, SEMO Network Against Sexual Violence, APPLE (helps the elderly with paperwork), Lutheran Family & Children's Services, Senior centers of Cape Girardeau/Jackson/Scott City, Hoover Eldercare, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Association for Retarded Citizens, Cancer Care Fund, Mid-America Teen Challenge, Gibson Recovery Center, SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Boys and Girls Club, Cape Area Family Resource Center, Cape Girardeau County 4-H, Children's Funds of Cape Girardeau/Jackson/Scott City, CASA, Girl Scouts, Habitat for Humanity and Success by 6.
All of those organizations do excellent and admirable work, but it would be time consuming to sit down and write a check to every last one of them.
The United Way does that for its donors. People donate by sending a check or through payroll deductions -- an affordable, predetermined amount comes out of each paycheck -- and the United Way sends the money along to agencies at various levels deemed appropriate by the board of directors.
Despite a shaky economy over the past several years, area residents have shown themselves willing to give money to this good cause.
As a result, the goal this year was set at $935,000, which is $6,000 above last year's goal that was surpassed by more than $34,000.
Proving the area's generosity, United Way leaders pointed out that they'd already raised $50,000 by the time they made the kickoff announcement.
The agency is aiming to reach its goal by Oct. 31. Certainly the community should support campaign chairman Don Fisher, director of business development at Southeast Missouri Hospital, and others working hard for a good cause.