I support the United Way of Windham County for three reasons: as a tribute to my mother, because there is great need, and because we must make the most of our limited resources.
My mother served on the Board of United Way of Westport, Connecticut for many years after she retired as a teacher of special education. She was a first-generation American, a daughter of The Great Depression, the child of a milliner and a delivery truck driver. I grew up knowing that others didn’t have it so good. That hasn’t changed.
The need for services has grown in ways nobody anticipated: a Byzantine payment system that serves as a barrier to healthcare; a surge of joblessness and homelessness following the Depression of 2008; an opioid epidemic; and chronic, generational alcoholism have all expanded needs for food, clothing, shelter, healthcare and education.
One thing that hasn’t changed is Vermont’s low population density. Living where there are more trees than there are people is a privilege – and a problem. That’s why Tim Shafer and I support the United Way of Windham County.
Tim and I donate token tributes to the prestigious schools where we earned the degrees that enable us to pursue our professions, but these institutions have more wealth and more alumni than exist in the State of Vermont. Our support of The United Way of Windham County helps promote prosperity and alleviate real suffering where we live.
We support the United Way of Windham County for the remarkable work they do building coalitions between the many different groups with the same goals. They’ve created The Hunger Council, which brings together the public and private organizations aimed at ending food insecurity. In partnership with Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, our United Way has established the much-needed Windham County Dental Clinic so all county residents can have access to oral care.
While creating coalitions may not be as visible as collecting canned goods to fill a food pantry, it’s an effective way to make every dollar allocated to relieve suffering and promote prosperity work harder.
We’re all used to hearing that no amount is too small. When it comes to the United Way of Windham County, no amount is too big. Learn more and donate here.
Lovely article Deborah! I always read your column when it comes – just seem to have a challenge getting into the reply system for whatever reason. Maybe it will work tonight. Thanks for your column and your example!