Bozeman Daily Chronicle Editorial: It feels good to give to United Way and our community, March 7, 2013

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Editorial: It feels good to give to United Way and our community
Greater Gallatin United Way intern and Montana State University student Eric Halverson decided to test the effectiveness of United Way dollars for himself. With his pockets empty, he set out to spend the chilly winter night relying solely on public services.

Without spending a dime, he road Streamline buses, ate a meal at the Community Café and spent the night at the Warming Center, where he was stunned to find people on laptop computers and cell phones who have temporarily found themselves without a home.

And it left him grateful that he lives in a community that provides such services for the less fortunate.

Such services are just a few among a litany of social service agencies that are funded in part or in their entirety by United Way.

Among the latter is Greater Gallatin United Way’s kidsLINK, which conducts early childhood and after school programs. And that’s money well invested for all of us. Studies have consistently shown that early childhood development is crucial to success later in life. Kids involved in these programs are far more likely to achieve success in school and stay out of criminal justice and social service programs.

And there are many, many more ways United Way benefits us all.

We often hear complaints about too much big government. United Way is a non-government campaign that provides for essential needs for a lot of our neighbors and friends. It is funded with voluntary giving and not through tax dollars.

And, while the pleas for charitable giving seem to be overwhelming at times, United Way is a way to spread your generosity over multiple worthwhile programs and ensure your donations go as far as possible with a minimum of administrative costs.

Many employers offer an opportunity to donate through a payroll deduction that minimizes the strain on family budgets. Take advantage of this opportunity and pledge to give to the Greater Gallatin United Way. You’ll be glad you did.