For the past several months, you may have read my regular tourism column in the Bradenton Herald. Each month, I've been able to report on some of the near-record numbers of visitors to our area and tourism revenues despite the tough economic conditions throughout the world.
Though the tourism industry enables our county's leadership to make important investments in our community, the fact remains that many Manatee County residents are still struggling to find work and to make ends meet. That's why today I'm going to switch gears a bit to talk about the United Way, another topic that's near to my heart and one that's no less important to Manatee County.
As we're all too aware, there are thousands in our community whose basic needs aren't being met. They need a hot meal, a place to sleep where they are safe, somewhere to keep their children while they go to work; someone that cares. I believe those of us who are more fortunate have the power and even the responsibility to make a difference to those in need. Even a modest commitment can make a big difference in the community.
I am sure many of us have encountered homeless children, abused children, and the disabled who need our help. Today, we can support each other by making some kind of contribution to the United Way in order to help our neighbors in need. This opportunity gives us a chance to make a statement of kindness and generosity that will put 84 cents of every dollar to those who need it most.
This past year, Manatee County employees contributed more than $100,000 to the United Way through many fundraising programs and direct deposit contributions; but many in our community remain in great need, which is why I'm challenging our community to add to the monies raised
by the Manatee County employees. Although I would like to suggest a certain contribution level, I do realize that your pledge should come from your heart, and the monies raised from this effort will no doubt help our children and elderly in need. Think of the difference we could make if those of us who can easily afford to contribute gave just a little!
I truly love our community, our united community, and I ask you all to lead with your heart and send a donation to Angela Moore, United Way, 1701 14th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34205 in hopes to give the needy in our community a chance.
I will be making my donation today.
Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, can be reached at Elliott.Falcioine@BACVB.com or 941-729-9177, ext. 222.