Published in the January 2017 Democrat
A shiny new bicycle - the holiday gift request of children around the world and around the corner. If you visited United Way’s Community Volunteer Center before the holidays you would have seen rows and rows – more than 80 bicycles lined up in the center room, sharing space with the thousands of gifts that would be given to neighbors in need.
Those who took a closer look would have noticed that most of these bikes weren’t just for kids but also for adults. Adults who can’t afford a car and need to get to work. Adults like Brenda who wrote “It means the world to me. It reminds me that kindness and love forever remain in humanity.” Most of those bikes were built and donated by employees at ExxonMobil in Clinton Township, and I’d like to publicly thank them once again for their ongoing support of United Way.
I am proud to lead an organization that ensured more than 2,735 of our neighbors had a brighter holiday season. I am prouder still to be part of an organization that looks beyond the immediate need and tries to connect people with resources that will help them get to a better place. Resources like financial coaching or education on healthy eating. I am proud that our free tax preparation program brought more than $1.5 million in tax refunds and credits back to hard-working members of our community.
Knowing we are helping so many people is important but it isn’t just about the numbers, it is about the individuals and families whose lives are changed. It is about hope. It is about knowing that every act of kindness matters.
I want to thank everyone who helped to make the Holiday Hands program a success and invite you to make 2017 the year of hope, the year of positive change for everyone in our community.
President, United Way of Hunterdon County Board of Trustees