The United Way of Meriden & Wallingford is in the midst of its 2020 campaign. During the recent event kickoff, Maria Campos Harlow, the organization’s executive director, announced an ambitious goal of raising $780,000. That’s $40,000 more than the campaign of a year ago.
There’s no doubting the good work of the organization, which helps with access to health care, education and basic needs. The essential purpose can be put more simply: It’s neighbor helping neighbor.
That was on display just the other day, when volunteers from local companies — including, it bears mentioning, employees of the Record-Journal — gathered for the United Way’s Annual Day of Caring. In that effort, 175 volunteers helped out at locations in Meriden and Wallingford.
What kind of help took place? All sorts, but one example is the Wallingford Public Library, where members of the Rotary Club visited to paint, clean, and pull weeds. Library Director Jane Fisher told the Record-Journal the library does not have the staff to take care of outdoor work, so helping out with yard work made a difference.
In Meriden, employees of Mirion Technologies helped out at the Child Guidance Clinic, painting rooms, washing windows and trimming hedges.
“...on a tight budget, we’d never get this painting done without help,” said Jim Maffuid, the clinic’s executive director.
While volunteering physical effort is important, so is that of funding. Nancy Morrissey, executive director of New Britain-based Senior Transportation Services, called funding through the United Way “crucial to our organization.”
There is also value when it comes to matching funds. United Way funding helps the Women & Families Center when it comes to state and federal grants, said Executive Officer Wayne Valaitis. “Their money really helps us leverage a lot more money,” he said.
Harlow put it about as well as it can be put during the campaign kickoff: “We’re not just raising money. We’re raising hopes and lives.” It’s hard to imagine a more praiseworthy goal.