Stephanie Pearce: A giving community

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Stephanie Pearce

One of the things that inspires me to write this column is my passion for where I come from — right here. There still are things that happen in this community that make me feel that we will overcome any obstacle, whether it be the oil and gas booms and busts, the president and governor attacking our industries, or the question of becoming a new state. Our community is here for one another.

I am inspired by all the letters to the editor in our paper. People who are passionate enough about a topic share their opinions and a lot of those opinions have to do with how wonderful our community is. There are letters thanking people for donations, for help cleaning up after a storm and from passersby in need who received help from our locals.

Right now, there are so many people who are having a rough time in our area because of the economy and other reasons. Our community doesn’t just throw up its hands and hope for a hand out; we throw out our hands and give a hand up. Organizations tell us their needs and we jump in to help where we can. We could all be or some of us have been on the side that needs the help, and seeing our community gather to give that help is such an inspiration.

Our local United Way campaign currently is underway. This is a perfect way for our community to come together in times of need. Our local United Way dollars stay in our community. Last year alone, United Way supported more than 50 agencies with our locally raised dollars.

There are three categories of partner agencies: member agencies, funded agencies and donor-designated. When you give to United Way, your dollars are spread across many local nonprofits and needy organizations, eliminating you having to decide which organizations to donate to. However, you can designate a local non-profit to donate to. United Way has a hand in helping lots of nonprofits from cancer support groups to 4-H. There are people from all across our community who participate in programs that they didn’t even know were United Way supported.

United Way is an easy way to give because usually you can sign up through your work and have the donation taken out throughout the year. A lot of employers in our community also provide incentives to participate, such as prize drawings. It’s a pretty simple way to have a large impact on your community without having to do much.

I can’t tell you enough how proud I am of our community and our willingness to help one another. Reading in the paper about people who have been touched by the kindness of others in our community makes me smile. It makes me think that in all of the bad things that are happening in this world, we have a place that we are proud to call home. Our community can survive these tough times together because we are here for one another.

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