This year's area United Way campaign has made a good beginning and, as the Greek philosopher Plato observed: "The beginning is the most important part of the work."
The United Way of Central Missouri kicked off its annual fundraiser campaign last week.
A highlight was the announcement that the 30 pacesetter companies - which conduct campaigns in advance of the kickoff - raised $769,007 of the overall $1.63 million goal.
The pacesetter effort marks 47 percent of the goal, and increase over the historically 40 percent raised by previous pacesetters.
The results bring to mind the words the Roman poet Horace, who said: "He has half the deed done who has made a beginning."
The pacesetter results are impressive, but they do not constitute half the goal, either literally or figuratively.
The hard work of raising the remainder of the goal now begins in earnest.
And the appeal now extends to individual contributors in other area companies to aid the 25 area health and human services agencies and programs assisted through the United Way.
One initiative sponsored by United Way to introduce area residents to member agencies is the Days of Caring, held in connection with the campaign kickoff.
"The Days of Caring," said area United Way President Ann Bax, "allow them to see firsthand the services provided by our partner agencies."
Participants in the Days of Caring work with agency staff, other volunteers and clients to perform tasks that range from landscaping and maintenance to child care.
The experience has bolstered volunteerism, which Bax characterized as "the life blood of United Way."
We encourage continued volunteerism to help United Way meet its goal and remain a vibrant source of helping our neighbors in need.
And, regarding United Way's good beginning, we are reminded of a quote by American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who said: "Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending."