In 1980, the inflation rate was 13.5 percent and interest rates were as high as 15 percent. If you bought a home, your mortgage rate would be over 12 percent. The nation was in a recession, and people were anxious about the future.
In November, the nation elected Ronald Reagan president. Reagan and his economic team set about trying to get the economy moving once again, taking the bold step of cutting taxes.
The same year, the Plymouth County Knights of Columbus Councils banded together to try a new way to raise money for Life Skills Training Center (LSTC).
LTSC is a non-profit vocational training facility that provides vocational and employment training for persons with disabilities. Their primary businesses are laundry and janitorial services.
The KCs had sold Tootsie Rolls as a fundraiser for many years before trying something new -- a phonothon. The phonothon runs for a day, the week after Labor Day weekend. The KCs and other volunteers call for tax-deductible donations for the center.
The program has been, by all measures, an unqualified success. Since 1980, a total of $1,100,348 has been raised. When a dollar is donated, 90 cents goes to LSTC, 10 cents to Special Olympics.
Life Skills gets 60 percent of its funding from the janitorial and laundry services. 32 percent comes from the government and donations comprise just eight percent of income.
It costs $3,600 a day to provide programs and services and maintain the building. Funding from the state and federal government is being trimmed and Life Skills is competing with for-profit firms for laundry and janitorial services.
Life Skills estimates that if the center were to close, persons with disabilities would need to be sent out of the county, costing as much as three times as the current program. They point out that the majority of training wages earned by clients are spent in the community.
Any way you look at it, a donation is a good investment.
One last thing, with people changing from land lines to cell phones, please be sure to include the telephone number that you would like to be reached at on your donation.
Give what you can when you are called on Wednesday.