This month, all throughout Miami County, many people from all different walks of life are coming together to help our communities through some of the most critical non-profit agencies we have; our three local United Way agencies. Piqua, Troy and Tipp City all have their own United Way agencies, and together they are unifying force helping to live out their mission of giving, volunteering and advocating for all our residents to improve our quality of life. One of the greatest benefits the United Way gives to each and every one of us is the opportunity to be a hero in our own hometown.
It is no secret that we live in a world that will take each and every opportunity to limit what we can do. It’s common knowledge that there are people in this world that are losing their lives due to lack of food, lack of clean water and lack of security. And it’s easy to feel powerless to do something about it.
Sometimes we feel that the only way we can make a difference in this world, is that we need to travel to far flung locales to serve the least, the last and the lost. It is in those thoughts we can easily become paralyzed with hopelessness. We build barriers of time, expense and even convenience that prevent us from doing what we know is right. And we feel that if we can’t make a difference abroad, perhaps we can’t make a difference at home.
We convince ourselves us that if we are going to do something of value, we must go big or go home. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Each day here in Miami County that are people that need help; there are people that need YOUR help.
Our youngest residents, are children, depend on United Way supported programs to provide quality child care along with learning and mentoring opportunities. Our oldest residents, depend on the United Way to help with access to medical equipment that help provide independence and dignity to the end of life. And all throughout the spectrum of life, the United Way is there doing the work to improve the quality of life for our community’s residents.
One of the easiest ways to help your local United Way is to make a donation. Many of our county’s largest employers run company campaigns that make donating to the United Way a seamless process.
In addition, another way that individuals can help the United Way is to volunteer with local agencies. There are dozens of agencies throughout the county that depend on the time and talents of those that have a desire to give back.
Heaven knows here at New Path, nothing could be accomplished without the selfless dedication and dogged determination of over 400 volunteers. These individuals are willing to give up their time to sort donations, feed their neighbors, make deliveries, answer the phones and do about one hundred other jobs that allow us to help our friends in their time of need. And I know New Path is not the only agency that can use a friendly face and warm heart.
Another way that you can help your local United Way is to advocate and support social service agencies in your own community. So many times, United Way agencies are treated like an insurance policy; people are happy these agencies exist, but never want to use them. Other times, people may only realize the United Way exists only at their time of need.
But through advocating for the work done by United Way agencies, you learn not only about the work these agencies do, but you learn about those neighbors that are served through these agencies.
For example, hearts and minds can be changed when you take a look at what poverty looks like in your own hometown. Struggles such as lack of quality day care and reliable transportation can be a real barrier to not just finding, but keeping a job.
On behalf of all our United Ways and their supported agencies, please take a moment and consider a donation, or serve through a volunteer opportunity or stand up for those we stand with.
William “Bill” Lutz is executive director of The New Path Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.