In 1948, Canada won 4 medals at the Winter Olympics in St. Moritz, My Happiness by Ella Fitzgerald had hit the number one spot on the Billboard charts, and The Community Chest, soon to be known as United Way, began operation in Chatham-Kent.

The world was in a period of rebuilding after the end of WWII, and despite the reality of war no longer looming, recovery after such a devastating event had left the vulnerable in dire straits. The years of upheaval, uncertainty and fear had made bad things worse … sound familiar?

But also familiar was the will of so many to make things better; to help where they could and to build connections in and around the community. The first decade of United Way in Chatham-Kent solidified a unique model that began with partnership between volunteers, businesses and local labour. It’s a model that became bigger than poodle skirts and hula hoops — and remains today.