As I put away the presents I received for Christmas and cleaned up the leftover food, I reflected on the wonderful spirit of giving I noticed in our community over the past few months.
Food was donated, cooked, delivered and served to hundreds of families for both Thanksgiving and Christmas; gifts were purchased and wrapped to make sure those children, families, senior citizens, and others facing financial challenges had a happy holiday this year. Generous donors paid off strangers' layaway bills and dropped big bills in the collection kettles. There were drives for Toys for Tots, Coats for Kids, sweaters, boots, heating assistance, pet supplies and more. Nearly every day, the paper reported on one or more generous donations given to a local pantry, shelter, or other charity.
All these efforts helped ensure that no one needed to go without a warm meal, gifts, and the knowledge that we live in a caring community. But now the decorations are going back on the shelves for the year, and my hope is that this caring, giving spirit doesn't also get shelved until the next holiday.
The news recently reported that one in three people in Fresno County lives in or below the poverty level and there are hundreds of homeless kids in our own towns. Until the economy turns around so that everyone in Fresno County can find a job that can support their family, many of our neighbors need a helping hand throughout the year.
The United Way of Fresno County is helping to meet this need. I look forward to the work the United Way of Fresno County and our partners will do in 2013. Our campaign team will be working to raise the necessary funds to support the work we and our partners are doing.
On behalf of United Way of Fresno County, I want to thank all the donors, sponsors, businesses, government entities for their wonderful gifts to finance these programs and initiatives. And thank you to all the volunteers who give their time to help make our community a better place to live and work. When we come together and collaborate to ensure our community is strengthen, here at United Way, we call this LIVE UNITED. Thank you to everyone for choosing to live united.
United Way encourages everyone to Give, Advocate and Volunteer throughout the year. You can find opportunities to get involved at our website: www.unitedwayfresno.org or by calling us at 244-5710 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wishing you a very prosperous new year!
R. Michael Alexander
President & CEO
United Way of Fresno County