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It can be exhausting to have Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. Yesterday I thought, why not put up a small goal of $500 to raise funds for the place I believe in the most. I run it. I know we are ethical, true to our mission and values and hang tight to good stewardship and not because I run it. We do because we have the most amazing volunteers who govern, advocate, volunteer and give to United Way of Jackson County. There are board members, committee/council members, office volunteers even now during COVID! Last night when I went to bed, I had surpassed my $500 goal. And then this morning came, and my goal exploded. I feel a bit like Sally Field, “You like us! You really like us!”  It matters so much to me that our spirits are restored, and I know I speak for more than just me. It’s been a long 20 months and on my best days and the hard days, I think the same thing. We’re making a difference person by person. Sometimes I want it to go faster and I’m still impatient to make a difference in people’s lives.

I heard a remarkable story yesterday about the increase in food stamps (SNAP benefits). The story was about a single dad with two sons. He wasn’t proud of needing food stamps and yet he knew he could feed his family. And while the food stamps went up 25% this year, it was helping to stay on top of what they were able to get due to the increase in food prices, not like a bonus. He said to the reporter, “Did you know milk has gone up $1 a gallon?”  The reporter just looked at him. It’s one of those moments where it seemed like the reporter didn’t know.  Some of us are lucky enough to not know the prices exactly. Some of us aren’t. I’m reading Invisible Child.  It’s a tough read. It’s the story of a young woman and her journey.  Her name is Dasani, yep like the bottled water. Her mom couldn’t believe people would buy water in a bottle when she was born. It seemed like something successful people would do, thus…  It helps to define success in new ways, even for me. On my best day at work and on my hardest day at work, I know we’re helping family by family. I’m still impatient about creating positive change.  We’ll get there thanks to your help. Every day. Not just Giving Tuesday and on Giving Tuesday. Thank you for your wit, your wisdom, and your wealth. I am deeply grateful.

Wishing you a safe, joyous, and happy Holiday Season!