There’s a lot of talk about “change” these days. President Obama successfully campaigned on the promise of replacing the status-quo in American politics with “change you can believe in.” And while he and his administration are well on their way to delivering that change, our economy has changed lately, too, and has eroded years of financial prosperity and replaced it with an economic downturn the likes of which we have never seen.
These economic changes have landed squarely in the laps of Western Connecticut families as businesses close or downsize, leaving many on the precipice of hunger, sickness, bankruptcy and foreclosure. More than ever in the last few decades, those who live on the margins are being pushed further into despair.
Fortunately, there’s another “change” coming to the rescue. You.
Over half a century ago, Mohandas Gandhi said “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Now more than ever, that hope-filled statement rings true. State government can only finance a limited number of social and human service programs in Connecticut, especially in this economic climate. The same is true of United Way of Western Connecticut, despite its history of the generous investments of millions of dollars in children and families in need. Those needs continue to this day, and they have grown. The United Way is being asked to do much more with the same, or even less, resources.
Now is the time to “be the change” you want to see on your street, in your neighborhood, in your town and across the region. As we peel away the layers of government and private support, we come to the core that is individual support, people like you, that make the difference in our community. Maybe your neighbor needed help paying a utility bill. Perhaps a co-worker has just brought home a bag of groceries from a local food pantry. Your child’s classmate may have even sought assistance in seeing a doctor. These aren’t strangers; they are the people you see everyday. They have been helped through the generosity of others. Now it’s our turn.
I have donated $5 to the United Way’s “Take Five to Give 5” campaign, and I have asked five friends to do the same. But it doesn’t take cash – you can volunteer your time to counsel children living with AIDS, share your computer skills with those looking to earn their high school diploma, or give personal support for a family in a shelter. The important thing is to act, to “Take Five to Give 5,” and to be the change you want to see. I encourage you to make that difference.
Senator Andrew McDonald
The State of Connecticut
Learn more about Take Five to Give 5 at: