Adopt A Working Family, GivingTuesday and More Offer Happy Holidays
BY CHRISTINE ROBERE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, UNITED WAY OF THE LAKESHORE
It is the most wonderful time of the year! Joy is spreading, families are uniting, love is conquering and hearts are giving.
For some in our community, this is a time of worry. This year may have brought some crisis like the loss of a loved one, a vehicle crashed, or a roof that has started to leak. For the ALICE population (those who are Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), sometimes life happens and sets them far behind leaving Christmas to be at the bottom of their priority list.
That is why United Way of the Lakeshore and the West Michigan United Labor started the Adopt A Working Family Program to help families be connected to businesses and individuals who seek out to make life better for those around us.
Above, Department of Public Works volunteers delivered gifts from Adopt A Working Family.
The Adopt A Working Family Program helped over 300 people in the community have a brighter Christmas. Families like this one:
“I am a mother of seven, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and had surgery to remove the cancer. While being in the hospital my father was on his way to go see her and got into a serious car accident, so he is also in the hospital. I’ve been trying to keep our bills paid along with my parents’ bills as well. I’ve got four children in elementary school and three older children. I just want to be able to give them a good Christmas this year with all of the bad news we’ve been getting these past months.”
All families that are in need of help are listed on our GetConnected Platform. There you can read a brief description like the one above and more about their family. Names of the family have been removed for the family’s privacy. Once a family has been adopted, their information is sent to the adopter. You can adopt a family today by clicking here.
Above, your involvement in GivingTuesday can make a big impact.
The holiday season is a great time to give monetarily too. For anyone who ever wished to have the power to make a really big impact on the world, GivingTuesday can be a dream come true.
Last year, more than 3.6 million people from 150 countries joined together to raise $400 million on GivingTuesday. United Way of the Lakeshore, with our corporate and nonprofit partners, stands ready to keep the momentum going this year to fuel the critical community cornerstones of education, financial stability and health around the world.
GivingTuesday is an international movement that harnesses the generosity of millions of people around the world to support the causes they believe in and the communities in which they live. On this day, every single act of volunteerism or donation to United Way is amplified by the sheer number of people joining in.
Established in 2012, in the U.S. as a celebratory kickoff to the holiday giving season, GivingTuesday happens on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving and has become a worldwide philanthropic event. This year, GivingTuesday will be on December 3 and you can join in to help power change, whether it’s your first time or you’ve participated before.
The power of one. The impact of many.
The best part about GivingTuesday? It doesn’t take a heroic effort to make an impact. Donate the $25 you would spend on eating out and sponsor a child in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library so a child can receive a free book every month this year. $100 can provide legal assistance to a family who cannot afford representation. $150 allows 39 children to learn how to prevent and report child sexual abuse through educational presentations. $500 supports tutoring programs and matches children with caring adult mentors. The power of any amount you donate is supercharged by the collective giving that will happen on December 3.
If you’ve never participated in GivingTuesday, mark your calendar to earn your cape this year by making a gift to United Way. As the United Way of the Lakeshore campaign runs, consider running a United Way Workplace Campaign. It is one of the best ways local companies can get involved in improving the conditions in our community. From support staff to laborers to executives, every contribution matters!
Another great way to spread holiday cheer is through volunteering. United Way of the Lakeshore has partnered with agencies across the county to create a Holiday Volunteer Guide, found here.
Volunteers are needed all over during the month of December. Many special events take place surrounding the holidays which creates the need for extra hands. Events like the Salvation Army Toy Shop which needs volunteers to help families facing adversity find toys for their children that were collected through Toys for Tots. Or the Holiday Village Party at Read Muskegon for families with children age zero to five. United Way of the Lakeshore also has a list of hundreds of opportunities in the community on their online Volunteer Calendar here.
Above, a Salvation Army Toy Shop volunteer helps out.
If you are 55 year old or above and looking to be involved in the community through volunteerism, contact us about The Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)! Your knowledge, skills, and life experience are of immeasurable value to the organizations and people in our community. As a member of the RSVP program you get to choose how, where, and how often you want to serve; with commitments ranging from a few hours to 40 hours per week. There are even seasonal positions available.
• Help your community: Know that you are giving your time, talent, wisdom, and experience to your community and neighbors who need you.
• Help yourself: Through service, you can add to the quality and health of your life. Research indicates that volunteers enjoy better health, make new friendships, stay active and involved in the community, and learn new skills.
• Make a difference: Be part of a national movement to transform America through the involvement of its citizens.
You can contact La Tonya Beene, Director, Senior Corps, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) at (231) 332-4018 and firstname.lastname@example.org
United Way of the Lakeshore is uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities. Our Bold Goal – 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025. For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at (231) 722-3134. Learn more about United Way of the Lakeshore at UnitedWayLakeshore.org, like the organization on Facebook and receive up to date information from Twitter at twitter.com/uwlakeshore.