For the first time in its nearly half-century of service, the Area Wide United Way topped $1 million in pledged giving.
That's a remarkable milestone. The giving level this year represents a 22 percent increase in the last five years.
The $1 million level was exceeded by $545, and there are still donations and pledges coming in. The goal for this year's fund-raising campaign was $935,000.
Since its founding, United Way's aim has been to encourage community support for organizations that contribute needed and useful services. By making a United Way contribution, individuals and businesses are able to help many deserving organizations with a once-a-year donation or through regular payroll deductions.
In recent years there have been good reasons to worry that charitable donations might falter. The economy has taken lumps, and a full recovery has not yet been experienced by everyone everywhere. Many Southeast Missourians are either participating in or have family and friends involved in military operations around the globe.
But those concerns haven't hurt the sense of charity in Southeast Missouri. The generosity of communities that participate in the Area Wide United Way -- Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Perryville and Scott City -- has once again been exceptional even in trying times.
Achieving such success for the United Way campaign takes considerable time and commitment from volunteers. This year, campaign chairman Don Fisher has had an extraordinary group of people to assist with all the details involved in a successful fund drive.
Special thanks go to all those who recognize the importance of the agencies funded by United Way and to all those volunteers whose effort made this year's campaign a banner year.