It may be fairly said that an important measure of the quality of a community is the way in which it joins together to take care of children, the elderly and those who are less fortunate.

By that yardstick, Frederick County has come off pretty well in recent years. The annual Unity campaign last year raised more than half a million dollars to support a variety of nonprofit groups who take care of others.

The United Way of Frederick County, which runs the campaign and selects the nonprofits that will benefit, last week announced the 32 partner organizations for this year. The campaign itself will begin in September, but it is never too early to begin discussing the good work being done on behalf of and in the name of our whole community.

Last year, the Unity Campaign raised $509,891 for 31 partner nonprofits. This year, the goal increased to $525,000. If you think about it, that is just $2 for every man, woman and child in the county. That does not seem like much of a sacrifice.

The Unity Campaign was started in 2014 and is based on two earlier fundraising efforts — Frederick48, a 48-hour campaign, and The News-Post’s own Season of Hope campaign, which was conducted during the holiday season.

The United Way website explains:

“When county funding for our local nonprofits were being eliminated, an effort was begun to ‘fill the gap’ by raising funds from the Frederick Community … Starting in 2017, the Unity Campaign became an annual project of United Way of Frederick County.”

The major focus of the Unity Campaign is to help support the working poor families of Frederick County, of which there are an alarmingly large number.

Again, this from the United Way website:

“The Unity Campaign has a clear and vital mission to support local nonprofits who serve ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) households in need of food, shelter, clothing, financial sustainability and healthcare as well as at-risk children and youth.”

These families face an uncertain economic future, and are often one illness or one unexpected emergency away from a crisis. The head of the household and frequently other family members are employed, but they work in low-paying jobs, and they have few or no assets such as a savings account to help in emergencies.

We will be writing more about the needs in our county as the campaign approaches, but we want to start giving our readers the information they will need to decide to make this a big success.

(14) comments

sue1955

Just as an addendum to my previous past, my daughter's condition is not due to anything she had control over. She has never been a smoker, for example.

sue1955

I'm sick to death of these charities and other entities patting themselves on the back for all the help they give. There are no safety-nets for people in this county for home health care personnel, unless the patient and/or the family has lots of money. My 39 year old daughter is a ventilator-dependent patient and has been in the hospital (technically, the THIRD hospital she has been in since March 2 of this year). NONE of the various entities that I have contacted that deal with life-threatening illnesses as well as those that supposedly deal with neglect/abuse in facilities do anything. I hate to think this as well as saying this, but it is better for such patients to die instead of having to put up with no real medical help as well as the low-life "workers" who are employed to care for patients. There are no allowable and workable options in Maryland (as well as some other states) for ventilator-dependent patients, especially who are unable to wean (off the ventilator). Such patients are not allowed to go home, by law, and must be in a facility with 24/7 trained personnel. Setting a residence up with the necessary medical equipment is not a legal option. Separate from my own issues, the charities that give to mentoring women, the YMCA and other "feel-good" services could go to much more deserving issues. Look at what happened to the first responders to 9/11, as Jon Stewart recently so eloquently stated to Congress.

MD1756

Regarding the 9/11 first responders, while it is a tragedy, some of it is self inflicted. I am not a health expert, but when I watched the reports over the days/weeks I was dismayed at the number of first responders who were not wearing their respirators. A respirator doesn't protect you if you don't wear it.

sevenstones1000

MD1756. Shame on you.

MD1756

Shame on me for stating a fact? Why do you feel the need to chastise someone for stating a fact? From their training first responders should have known to wear respirators.

If they didn't and that was the reason of their ailments, then what other conclusion can you come to?

I worked in production at a munitions plant and then worked at the EPA where we inspected large complicated chemical facilities. Both had proper training for use of respirators and requirements that they be used. Respirators are required in certain circumstances for a reason, to protect your health. Who is going to pay for all the people who were not first responders who developed health issues without the proper training and equipment?

deignis

They didn't wear them, because they were informed that the air was safe.

MD1756

Maybe for the general public but not for those working in the debris.

sevenstones1000

I’m so sorry for your daughter. Health insurance and health care in the US has been a complete mess. The ACA has brought medical insurance to millions who had no access to care due to pre existing conditions. My son is one of those people. Many people who are in the hospital would like to be at home. It would be extremely expensive to set up and staff a home, though. I’m not sure if you are asking taxpayers to pay for it.

sue1955

I really appreciate your sincere sentiment, seven. Thank you very much. I feel for you and your son, also. In terms of equipment per se at home; yes, it would be expensive, but not as much as continuous care (all things considered) in a skilled nursing home for however length of time. Her situation could realistically go on for years. Also; I'm not expecting or asking taxpayers to pay for it.

FCPS-Principal

The concept of judging a community based on how it treats its sick and elderly and poor is a very sound concept. By extension you can easily judge a country by how it treats its prisoners and sick and poor and dissidents. Every country treats its wealthy well. Every country treats those who profess to love its leaders well. The wealthy class in Malaysia live just as well as the wealthy class in America. The acid test comes on how countries treat prisoners, the poor and those who disagree. That's where the USA under Republicans joins the ranks of NK, Venezuela, Russia, Myanmar, Syria, Yemen and other African tinpot dictators.

gary4books

I must agree. It is an important indicator.

MD1756

United Way provides a service, but at a price (https://paddockpost.com/2015/12/03/where-does-1-to-united-way-go/). When I worked for the US EPA, I used to designate charities through the federal CFC program (managed by United Way). They had a scandal in 1992 (https://www.charitywatch.org/charitywatch-articles/charitywatch-hall-of-shame/63) so I dropped out of the CFC and from then on I just donated directly to the organizations I supported. This eliminated a level of administrative costs and meant my donations were more effective for each individual charity that I donated to.

United Way of Frederick County

Thank you, MD1756, for your constructive criticism. We typically do not respond to anonymous posts, but we do respond to factual inaccuracies. The article you're referring to is about United Way Worldwide. United Way of Frederick County is a completely autonomous locally-based nonprofit organization. To demonstrate the difference, it's worth understanding that 100% of dollars contributed through the Unity Campaign go directly to the charity of choice. We hope that this deepens community understanding of United Way of Frederick County and the Unity Campaign. If you wish to discuss further, please feel free to call me at 301-663-4231. Sincerely, Ken Oldham CEO, United Way of Frederick County

MD1756

I stand correct for this specific campaign, and I would suggest you market that fact. However, my comment about donating directly to charities still stands since each organization has administrative costs. If you are not charging any administrative costs to the Unity Campaign, then you are taking the money from elsewhere in the organization. My point is to encourage people to donate directly to the organizations/causes they wish to support where I think it is fair to say that it is more likely that more of your money will go to addressing the causes you wish to support.

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