By Dave Panneton, Managing Director of Private Banking, First National Bank; Butler Region Local Operating Board Chair, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania
How much do you know about the issues facing your community? I’ve seen them firsthand and have heard some of the hundreds of thousands of calls to United Way’s PA 2-1-1 Southwest helpline that suggest that members in our community are struggling more than ever to feed their families, pay their utility bills, find transportation for doctors’ visits and more. Despite many of us feeling that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, not all of our neighbors can say the same.
Hundreds of thousands of people across the region turn to United Way for help and United Way turns to their trusted community partners, rallying help from those who can give it. Though we hope the eye of the storm has passed, local organizations are still reporting record need and asking for additional support. Luckily, we can help.
From rural Butler County to the city streets of Pittsburgh, volunteers will take the region by storm for a Week of Caring in September and I’m here to share three reasons you should join in.
- You’ll make a deeper connection to your community
I’ve been involved with United Way for so long that I honestly can’t remember when I first started donating. However, in my five years on the Butler Region Local Operating Board, I have learned that the best way to face issues is to see them for yourself. While packing boxes with a food bank or updating a school library, you’ll hear stories of the individuals and families who rely on these organizations every day. And as you learn more about the work, you’ll find certain aspects spark your passion. Personally, I have been moved by the support United Way and its partners provide to help local children build for success in school and life, but maybe you’ll find interest in the work related to meeting basic needs or moving toward financial stability. Either way, Week of Caring offers an opportunity to learn more about the communities we call home.
- You’ll support local organizations
There are so many needs in our communities today; we could do 52 Weeks of Caring. The truth is that our human service organizations are doing their best with the very limited dollars they have. Donating your time as a volunteer is a big help – it means organizations can use their budgeted dollars to serve more people in the community.
- You’ll feel good about giving back
There aren’t many win-wins, but this is one of them. In volunteering your time during Week of Caring, you’re providing support for local organizations that will give that investment directly to the neighbors they help. What’s most important is that feeling you get, the gratification you’ll feel when you recognize the good you have done in your community. At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than knowing you made a difference for somebody in just a few hours.
There are projects and opportunities in every neighborhood across the region. You’ll see the result of your work every time you drive across town. And even better? Our local human services organizations and the people they serve will know we have their backs.
So, will you join me and volunteer during Week of Caring? Registration is open now at bit.ly/UWWOC22.