Thanksgiving: Gratitude for the community

We often think of Thanksgiving as the real kickoff to the fall season. Hikes to see the autumn colours, a fall fair and a delicious meal with family and friends are common ways we tend to spend this long weekend.

At its heart, Thanksgiving comes out of celebrations of a bountiful harvest but this holiday has become a time to reflect on all the blessings in our lives. It’s an opportunity to not only be grateful but to actively express our gratitude to those who make a positive impact on our lives, our neighbourhoods, and our communities.

This year our campaign theme is nothing matters more than community. This is a perfect message for the Thanksgiving season. Our community – wherever we find it – is vital to our well-being, our sense of belonging, and our happiness.

So, from all of us at United Way Halton & Hamilton, I want to tell you how grateful we are to our community – our donors, volunteers, and partners who contribute to our mission to improve lives, build community and ignite action.

We know every day just how blessed we are to have each of you in our corner, backing us, inspiring us and helping us to ensure that everyone in our community has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

We can only succeed through a collective effort to care for those in need. Last year, by standing shoulder to shoulder, we were able to support 106 programs, serving more than 143,500 individuals and families in powerful and life-changing ways.

I am also thankful this year for the Local Love Community Match that is amplifying the impact of our community donors. For every $4 in donations, $1 is being matched by a generous group of community members and local organizations. This is having an incredible cumulative effect on our fundraising efforts and will magnify the power and reach of each donation.

United Way Halton & Hamilton needs you to join us to move the needle on the great demand for social services that our community agencies continue to experience. Last year 84% of agencies reported that they are experiencing a higher demand for services.

Your funding changes lives. Fred struggled with addiction, but he was able to get his life on track and has been in recovery for 14 years, after finding the services of a United Way-funded agency.

“If the program hadn’t stepped in when it did, I probably wouldn’t be here today. That’s huge for me. My life changed in one phone call. Now, I share my story to let people know about the services that they support through donations and how they make an impact”

I count among the great blessings of my life that I can serve in a community where so many people band together to make a difference.

I hope you have an opportunity this Thanksgiving season to take a few moments to reflect upon all that you have to be grateful for and I hope that list is long. Then I encourage you to take action and transform your gratitude into a commitment to supporting the most vulnerable among us.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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