IT WOULD BE easy to forget that affluent Howard County has needs. But as invisible as those needs may be in one of the nation's wealthiest counties, families here depend on the generosity that Howard County shows each year through contributions to the United Way of Central Maryland.
There are families who fear, as winter approaches, the choice between whether they will have heat or something to eat: That is when Dorothy Moore and her Howard County Community Action Council make sure they have both.
There are women who have found the courage to leave abusive marriages or relationships: That is when the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County steps in to offer refuge and counseling.
There are children and adults with mental disabilities who are trying to find a place in a world that poses high hurdles: That is when the Howard County Association for Retarded Citizens provides a compass.
There are homeless people seeking a way back into the mainstream: They come to Ms. Moore's agency or the Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center to get back on their feet.
These agencies rely heavily on funding from the United Way. Last year, it provided $1.26 million to health and human services in Howard County. But the need remains larger than the help.
People were turned away from shelters 542 times for lack of space last year, and more than half of those who received emergency housing assistance were children.
Non-profit agencies that provide these vital services are facing some of their most challenging times, with government funding drying up along with demands to cut public spending. If they hope to continue working small miracles, more help must come from private contributions. Your dollars to the United Way are needed to bring this help.
The United Way, which has a $37.5 million area-wide goal for its two-month campaign, has a local presence through its United Way Community Partnership of Howard County in Columbia. Some contributions raised through this effort will help people elsewhere in the metropolitan region. Other donations will stay here, where the needs may be invisible but real.
Pub Date: 9/30/96