Niagara Gazette

November 4, 2012

UNITED WAY: The gift of help can last throughout the year

By Carol Houwaart-Diez
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — It’s getting close to that time of year again. How could the months have flown by so quickly from last year’s celebrations? Can it really be possible that the big moment of 2012 is within sight? There is still so much to do.

I’m sure many people across Niagara County are thinking this way about the upcoming holiday season. After all, this time of year tends to turn our lives into somewhat of a controlled whirlwind of activity, energy, generosity and unmistakable spirit. While it can be hectic, the overall result for most families is joy – joy in sharing what we have with loved ones and friends, joy in taking time to give thanks for the blessings we have in our lives, joy in spending time with those we love and in gearing up for new and exciting challenges in the year to come.

At United Way of Greater Niagara, the whirlwind of activity at this time of year means working toward the completion of a successful Community Care Campaign.

There are many throughout our community who do not share in the joys of the holiday season. Their days are filled with challenges — physical, emotional, financial and social. The blessings that many of us take for granted are all too often out of their reach. From the brave veteran who feels lost to the children desperate for guidance, our community is filled with stories of hurt and hardship.

For those who need a place to turn, there is United Way and the indefatigable work of our member agencies. These organizations – our partners – have committed themselves to the mission of making Niagara County a stronger community and increasing our capacity to care for those who need our help.

During this season of giving and celebrating the human spirit, the Community Care Campaign represents a unique opportunity to make your generosity last all year, right here in your neighborhood. Each year, United Way programs and services benefit more than 80,000 people across Niagara County. But the needs and challenges keep growing and the number of people who need support continues to rise.

For as little as $1 per week, you can make an important difference in someone’s life. Through the Community Care Campaign, United Way of Greater Niagara is able to provide and support more than 75 programs that represent hope to those who depend on them. This year’s campaign is entering its final weeks and we are working toward reaching our goal of raising $1.3 million. The money raised here stays here to help those from every walk of life and every neighborhood in Niagara County who need a helping hand and a shoulder on which to lean.

The spirit of the season is vibrant in Niagara County. United Way of Greater Niagara has been incredibly fortunate to enjoy the community’s support for generations. The Community Care Campaign is a chance to make that spirit last and touch as many lives as possible for generations to come.

Carol Houwaart-Diez is president of United Way of Greater Niagara.