‘Happiest Sweepstakes on Earth’ also a chance to lift your community - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

‘Happiest Sweepstakes on Earth’ also a chance to lift your community

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Linda Haskell is resource development director for Mesa United Way. She can be reached at linda.haskell@mesaunitedway.org.

Posted: Friday, April 27, 2012 9:17 am | Updated: 11:30 am, Tue May 1, 2012.

“Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” — Plaque at the entrance to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif.

Everyone loves Disneyland. Any adult truly honest with himself or herself succumbs to dizzying levels of childish glee when exposed to the sight of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle just beyond Main Street, U.S.A. A 50-year-old father of two still screams with excitement as Space Mountain whirls him around in the dark. A 75-year-old grandmother screams in tandem with her grandchildren as Splash Mountain drops her 86 feet into the rushing water below.

So naturally, the prospect of entering a sweepstakes to win a free trip for two to Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., excites you. What adult doesn’t relish the prospect of a free two-night hotel stay and one-day Park Hopper passes at the Happiest Place on Earth? Yet there is more to this sweepstakes than the chance at a Disneyland trip. There is a much greater opportunity at hand: the opportunity to help those in your community.

For 90 years, Mesa United Way has assisted various charitable organizations in Mesa that offer basic needs, self-reliance, education, and prevention services to those who need it most. Working with the monetary contributions of Mesa residents, Mesa United Way has been able to help thousands of people each year work toward a better life.

In recent years, the need for charitable contributions has grown. In these challenging economic times, more people are relying on these programs, but the program budgets have received cuts in state and federal funding. These agencies are thus forced to do more with much less. Every year Mesa United Way sets a goal for raised funds, to be met by the end of June. It is now April and we are still short of that goal.

We know there are those out there still undecided about donating to the United Way, and it is our hope that this sweepstakes pushes those remaining off of the fence. Whether it is your first time donating to an organization, you’re a regular Mesa United Way donor, or you have never donated to the United Way, there are many reasons why your charitable contribution is necessary and well-received. Feel free to peruse our website (www.mesaunitedway.org) and see just how far your money goes.

Even if you don’t win the Disneyland trip, you’re still making a valuable contribution to your community. That alone makes you a winner.

(A special “Thank you” to GetAwayToday.com for donating the Disneyland vacation.)

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