Saturday, May 25, 2013
For state workers, the opportunity to support charities through the Maine State Employees Combined Charitable Appeal is a familiar tradition this time of year.
Those who are not employed by a state agency may be surprised to learn that during difficult economic times, as well as periods of greater prosperity, thousands of state employees have consistently reached deep into their pockets to donate millions of dollars to charities.
Throughout the state of Maine, lives have been improved, families have been given new hope, and communities have been revitalized — because of the incredible generosity of state workers as demonstrated through this charitable appeal.
It’s worthwhile to recognize outstanding contributions and exemplary service by government workers.
When public-sector employees not only meet their day-to-day work obligations, but also go to incredible lengths to help their neighbors, the public benefits from knowing.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.”
Each fall, dozens of state workers representing every agency show their greatness by serving as leaders of this extraordinary charitable campaign.
They devote time, energy and creativity to remind their coworkers about the worthy purpose of the charitable appeal and the 500 charities that benefit from it.
These special volunteers recognize the powerful impact of this annual appeal, and they work hard to encourage other state workers and retirees to donate whatever they can to the charities of their choice.
Since 1980, the generosity of state employees and retirees has made an enormous difference in the lives of children, seniors, individuals with disabilities and many others here in Central Maine.
Almost every charity in this part of the state has benefited from the charitable appeal, including the Augusta Food Bank, Goodwill Industries, the Kennebec Valley YMCA, the Alzheimer’s Care Center, Legal Services for the Elderly and Spectrum Generations.
Other statewide organizations receiving support through this annual appeal include the Maine Hospice Council, American Lung Association of Maine, the Disability Rights Center and the Maine Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For the Cure.
Last year, despite a challenging economy and unpaid government shutdown days, state employees contributed nearly $350,000 to the appeal’s charities.
Since 1990, more than $4 million has been donated.
We want to express our sincere appreciation to generations of state employees for recognizing the needs in their communities and coming through for those who could use a helping hand.
The 2010 appeal is well under way. And though the national economy is slowly recovering, the unmet needs in our towns, state and nation remain significant — making this annual appeal more important than ever.
Our goal this year is $375,000.
Maine people should be proud of the work being done each day by state employees, both in their jobs and through the charitable appeal.
Their contributions are often unknown, but they make a world of difference.
Anne Head is commissioner of the Maine Department of Professional and Financial Regulation and chairwoman of the Maine State Employees Combined Charitable Appeal. Bruce Hodsdon is president of the Maine State Employees Association, Local 1989 of the Service Employees International Union.