The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

November 27, 2012

Needs are many; please give what you can


The Tribune-Democrat

— In case you missed the announcement, today is #GivingTuesday.

In a world that has gone high-tech at an amazing speed and to amazing heights, it was only a matter of time until giving to charities or directly to those less fortunate went, well, high-tech.

United Way of the Laurel Highlands is among those joining the inaugural nationwide #GivingTuesday movement, which brings together charities, families, businesses and individuals to transform how people think about and participate in the giving season.

No surprise there. For many years, United Way has been helping needy individuals and worthy groups that help others in our region.

“We have a day for giving thanks and two days for getting deals, and this year we are asking the public to join us as we help create #GivingTuesday ... the giving season’s opening day,” said Bill McKinney, president of the United Way of the Laurel Highlands.

“It’s a simple idea. By making a donation to the United Way or your favorite charity on Nov. 27, you will be joining a national celebration of our great tradition of generosity.”

As explained by our Kelly Urban, the # symbol, called a hashtag, is mainly used on the Twitter social media service as a way to search and curate tweets by user-defined categories.

For more information on the nationwide movement, visit www.givingtuesday.org. For information on the local United Way’s participation, visit www.uwlaurel.org.

Also putting electronic gadgets to use this year is the Salvation Army in Scranton. It is making it more convenient for people to donate by attaching credit card machines to kettles.

“Army” leaders in Cambria and Somerset counties say that won’t be happening locally this year, but the idea has them thinking about usage in the near future.

We hope that has no effect on area giving habits this year. With a still-struggling economy, needs for charities of all types continue to be up, including with the Salvation Army. We keep hearing reports that some of the people who had been donors in past years are now coming or applying for assistance themselves.

Indeed, these are scary times.

Maj. Joseph F. Pawlowski, corps officer with the Johnstown Salvation Army, said the goal this year for the Greater Johnstown area is $150,000, which is up by 15 percent from 2011. The Salvation Army in Somerset set a goal of $35,000, according to Director Holly Skinner.

Meanwhile, food pantries in our area are reporting low supplies on their shelves.

Nearly every day, it seems, our news pages detail another drive to collect money, food, clothing and toys. Churches, schools, police and fire departments, workplaces, clubs and organizations of all types are pitching in to make the holidays and this winter in general a little more bearable for the less fortunate.

We realize the needs are many, as are the efforts to help out. We urge everyone who is financially able to give what they can.

Helping others is a big part of what this season is about.

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