Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

April 19, 2013

Hats off!

By Deanna Kirk
Corsicana Daily Sun

— First off, let me say a heartfelt, emphatic “Congratulations and way to GO!” to the United Way, and its executive director, Marianne Mitchell. They set a goal of $366,500 for fundraising this year, especially lofty in light of the economic times and the hardships many have faced with their employment, but they rose to the challenge and met the goal!!

I keep playing this trumpet about helping “the least of these,” and thankfully, the citizens of Corsicana were once again generous, and perhaps despite personal financial hard times, dug deep into their pockets to pledge or donate to United Way. Now many of our non-profit organizations in town, social service agencies that don’t have hefty salaries paid to their people but instead are doing it for the welfare of others less fortunate, will have much needed funding to carry on their work.

There are some “non-profit” agencies that receive huge grant monies from the government, but many others, such as the House of Refuge, do not get one thin dime from that source. The House of Refuge operates solely on the generosity of others; service clubs, church groups, even holding raffles for quilts and gospel concerts.

It is these ministries who have the greatest need. Where often those running the agency or ministry barely make enough to survive, while pouring themselves and their resources into helping those even less fortunate.

When Frank Banks passed away this week, who played Lumpy Rutherford on “Leave It to Beaver,” I looked up the old show. It was a favorite in my childhood.

But it got me thinking: Gone are the days when Dad (Mr. Cleaver) would go off to work in the morning, kiss the Mom and kids goodbye, and not return until supper time, while Mom stayed home and baked cookies and played bridge (in her pearls and heels, of course!) until the kids got home from school.

Yes, that is the childhood I remember (though Mom wasn’t partial to heels). My mom didn’t go back into the work force until after my little sister graduated from high school. I think it’s wonderful if you can afford to stay home and raise your kids yourself.

But these days, it’s not just single moms who are in the workforce, it’s single ladies, married women, married moms, and even women past retirement age.

Have we all just become so materialistic that we believe we must have the newest vehicle on the market, the largest house we can possibly afford, take the most lavish vacations, and wear all the latest fashions? Sure, for some that is true.

But many families I know must have all the adults working, and sometimes the older kids, in order to survive. For many it’s not a question of “wants,” it’s a matter of “needs.” And so very many out there all work hard, and still for many years can’t manage to even cover all the “needs.”

I’ll step off my soapbox now. I’m grateful at least part of Navarro County opened their eyes and made the United Way goal a reality. I’m grateful our social service agencies will be able to operate another year, hopefully, with the aid of this funding.

I’m grateful we have an active United Way Agency in our county.

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Deanna Kirk is a Daily Sun staff writer and editor of Explore magazine. Her column appears on Saturdays. She may be reached via email at dkirk@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com