United Way is making a special effort to raise money for basic needs

The Salvation Army's red kettles and bell ringers are a familiar sight during the days leading up to Christmas. The kettle drive is one of the organization's major fundraising efforts. This year the kettles were out again last weekend at several locations, this time helping the United Way of Southeast Missouri raise additional funding for the Salvation Army and the ministerial alliances in Jackson and Scott City.

Because of the recession, the United Way is short of it annual campaign goal. But the needs for services -- and the dollars to pay for them -- is greater than ever. Rather than come up short on providing shelter, clothing and food to those in need, the United Way has put together an extra effort to raise funds. A few weeks ago it kicked off its "Give $5, Tell 5" campaign. Individuals are asked to make an extra donation of $5 and ask five others to do the same.

The kettle drive last weekend was another effort to boost the giving. Generous contributors put nearly $6,000 into the kettles, raising the Basic Needs Fund donations to over $11,500.

The United Way is encouraging extra giving for the next few weeks. Schnucks, Kidd's, West Park Mall customer service and First State Community Bank are still collecting donations for the Basic Needs Fund through the end of February.

Donations also may be sent to the United Way at 430A Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63701. And donations may be made online at unitedwayofsemo.org.

The needs are great, and so is the desire of the United Way to make sure assistance can be provided to meet the demand. Be generous. Please help the United Way with this extra fundraising effort.