Even small change can make a big difference!

As the 2012 year draws to a close, I am reminded of the reality that all gifts – no matter what the size – are gratefully received – especially when they are given from the heart.

United Way was witness to such an act of kindness when Heather Beecroft, Ridgetown Co-Chair and Caress Lee Carpenter were doing their “blitz” of retail establishments in downtown Ridgetown recently.

As they were walking down Main Street carrying their “Change starts here” sign, they greeted Kara Hawthorne and her two-year old daughter, Morgan.

Morgan asked, “Mommy, what does that sign say?” Kara explained that the young women were raising money so that United Way could help a number of people – including children – in the Ridgetown area. With that simple explanation, Morgan exclaimed, “We’ve got change!” and asked her mother if they could donate the left-over change they had received from their lunch.

“It was one of those rare – and heartfelt – moments,” said Caress, “that made the rest of our day!”

United Way officials received a number of larger gifts in the days leading up to Christmas from employee campaigns held at Martinrea Fabco in Dresden and Greenfield Ethanol and Dana Canada in Chatham. A number of additional employee campaigns are still to report in prior to the campaign touchdown on Friday, 2013 JAN 25. United Way remains hopeful that the total of these gifts – coupled with donations from new contributors – will help the organization reach its target of $2,012,000.

With the hope that many of our friends and colleagues have had a safe and restful holiday, it is time to begin thinking of New Year’s resolutions. While it will be important for those who have eaten too much Christmas turkey and sweets to think about fitness memberships and nutrition counselling (I have a number of friends in this business!), I’d like to encourage more of our community’s residents to consider volunteering. Specifically, United Way has a need in the area of fund-distribution. We are now recruiting local residents to participate in the annual citizen review process. Training will be held on Jan. 12. Those interested in helping to determine how United Way funds are allocated to its various agency programs and services are urged to call Helen Heath at 519-354-0430 or email helen@uwock.ca.