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County residents show they care

We’ve always believed that if you show the people of Denton County a need, they will find a way to fill it.

The results of the 2012 fundraising campaign conducted by the United Way of Denton County prove that our faith in our neighbors is well-founded — donations to the agency increased by 13 percent from 2011 to 2012, campaign officials announced Saturday night.

This year’s United Way campaign raised $2,068,026, marking the first time since 2009 that the organization has raised at least $2 million.

It was a generous response and one that we believe was based on genuine caring for those who are in need. Gary Henderson, president and CEO of the United Way of Denton County, told us that during the campaign, the organization had worked to better communicate the needs of the county — and evidently, a lot of folks were listening.

Instead of setting a campaign goal, the agency concentrated on educating the public about who is in need and how to help. And by visiting with companies that conducted campaigns, United Way leaders learned that people were a lot more interested in this personal approach than they were in goals and numbers.

Henderson said the organization communicated with supporters what had happened from 2000 to 2010, showing how the community dramatically grew and needs increased.

People learned that factors contributing to an increasing level of need in their county include: one in three children are at risk of dropping out of school; 90,000 residents are food-insecure, which means they don’t know from where their next meal is coming; and 15 percent of adults who are 25 and older didn’t finish high school.

That’s an alarming message, and the people of the county responded, Henderson said. When people heard just how serious the need is, they vowed to help.

Saturday night was a time to celebrate and say thanks to supporters, but the United Way of Denton County has already started fundraising for 2013. Considering the needs of the county, officials feel that they need to aggressively grow the campaign, Henderson told us.

“We know there is no doubt we need to continue to do more,” he said.

We commend all who supported the 2012 United Way campaign and plan to continue their support of the agency during the coming year.

Thanks for caring about your Denton County neighbors who are in need, and even more importantly, thanks for taking action to help meet those needs.