Inside today's paper is an advertisement about this year's MUFFY drive. It has a listing of all the agencies that get money from MUFFY, a roster of the drive team, a brief summary and a thermometer showing where the drive stands so far.

Want to know how much has been raised so far? (Spoiler alert!) So far the campaign total is just a few dollars over $115,000. Sound like a lot of money? Sure. Until you put it in the context of how much is needed. That, my friends, is $475,000. That means with only eight weeks to go, we're 76 percent away from reaching our goal.

Let's keep putting it in context. After all, it's just a goal, right? No, it's so much more than that. The money raised pays for jobs and services. Jobs at places like the Family Crisis Shelter, the Boys & Girls Club, ASI, Community Chest, Sunshine Vans and more. The services that those agencies provide are paid for at least in part with the MUFFY money as well.

To be really fair, you also have to think about the context of half a million dollars. That's how much MUFFY has been raising and how much that's been invested into many Montgomery County non-profit organizations. When that amount last year fell below $375,000 in the last drive the context became even clearer. Programs were cut. Jobs were lost or reduced. People were hurt.

Not everything is doom and gloom for this year's drive. You've likely heard and read a lot about the police vs. fire softball game that took place last week. A lot of good folks took part in making that happen and we raised about $1,000. Pardon the pun, but it was a home run for local fund-raising efforts. And for those with good memories, yes, it's true that yours truly and MUFFY exec Dave Johnson agreed to be like my hero Brad Monts and shave our heads if the drive hits $500,000.

Also in the smiles dept., the good folks in the MUFFY office report that many company drives are coming in with totals higher than a year ago. You'll hear more about those as we give a very deserved tip of the hat to those good folks in the coming weeks.

There are indeed good things happening. Just not enough. If this year's drive is going to be a success, there has to be more. The reality is that not everyone can afford to give. Some good folks have fallen on bad times, or at least rough ones. We need to give our social service agencies more tools so they can help meet an increasing need.

It's a sad but true fact. The more the community can really afford to give, the less social services need. When times are tough for a community and it's hard to give, that's when the need is greater.

If you are a regular reader of this column, you know this isn't the first time in the last few weeks you've read my pleadings about MUFFY. It won't be the last, either. The challenge we face is daunting. Time is rapidly running out. The stakes are awfully high. The only way this ends well is if a lot of people and companies step up and make a difference. Please join us in doing exactly that.



Two cents, which is about how much Timmons said his columns are worth, appears periodically on Tuesdays in The Paper. Timmons is the publisher of The Paper and can be contacted at ttimmons@thepaper24-7.com.