My name is Betty and I’m 76 years old. Several years ago I fell and broke both my elbows. I can’t raise my hands above my head and there are so many things I can’t do well. About 10 years ago, I received a call from United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior program and they said they would like to come visit me. They got to know me and then wonderful things started to happen. I remember the day I came home from the grocery store and there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers sitting on my porch from a kind woman at Kennametal whom I’d never met. I called United Way and asked what was going on. They said different people had taken people’s names. So this young woman got my name and she sent me a bouquet of flowers and at Christmas time she made me the most beautiful afghan that I’d ever seen.
Soon I met Bob and Marlene, a husband and wife who were paired with me by United Way. They took me grocery shopping. They took me to the store, put things in the cart, loaded them in their car, and even brought them into my house to help me put them away. They would also come and take me to doctor’s appointments, which made things so much easier.
United Way called to ask for a favor. They wanted to know if employees from Westinghouse could come to my property for a Day of Caring. So I agreed, and oh my goodness, 25 people in bright yellow shirts, men and women showed up one day. They had a truck load of river rock, another had a chain saw, some had blowers—they had everything. They stained my deck and my ramp. They spent a whole day out here and it was just wonderful. And I’d say God has blessed me so much by getting me in touch with United Way. They have just been tremendous to me. I didn’t know how to really thank them. I said, ‘there aren’t words to say how thankful I am.’ And what did they say to me? ‘Don’t thank us. We thank you for letting us get out in the fresh air and to be able to help someone else.’
I wish I was younger and healthier. I would love to volunteer and just help people the way United Way has helped me. There are lonely people. They call those people. They call us. To wish us a happy birthday or just to find out how we are. They really care about people. And we are happier for it.
Thanks to the generous support of United Way donors, United Way’s Open Your Heart to a Senior program enables people like Betty to live independently in their homes where they have loving memories and familiar surroundings. Learn more about the program and how to get involved here: uwswpa.org/open-your-heart-to-a-senior/