If you choose to donate to United Way, you can help our community to become a better place and increase your own happiness at the same time.
It feels good to give.
Popular culture tends to associate happiness with getting something — material items, fame, fortune. But most of us discover that when we give something to help others, whether it is time, talent or money, the happiness that results can surpass that of receiving.
The rush of compassion and gratitude for our own blessings, including the ability to give even a little, is a real high. And though it is truly spiritual, we now know from brain science that it is physically the result of serotonin, a feel-good enzyme, being released into the bloodstream. How cool.
I’ve had the privilege of traveling across the county to thank many of the hundreds of volunteers during our community’s recent Day of Caring. I saw dozens of happy bank employees helping the Red Cross and its volunteer crew to prepare lunches for volunteers throughout the county. I saw manufacturing associates smiling ear to ear as they swarmed into downtown Massillon to work on a project. I caught up with corporate executives joyfully repairing playground equipment at a Canton preschool. And one would have thought that the college staffers organizing games at a child development center in Alliance had just won the lottery. Wherever I stopped, it was evident that the throngs of “givers” were the real “receivers” that day.
If you choose to donate to United Way, it doesn’t take a lot of money to bring on the high. Pledging at your workplace, buying raffle tickets, putting change into collection canisters or making other donations within your means can help our community to become a better place and increase your own happiness at the same time.
And it may feel even better to know that your donation, united with those of others, can really make a difference by supporting agencies and programs in areas where it is needed most.
‘LOST WITHOUT SUPPORT’
Jameson DiGenova, a cancer patient, receives low-cost or no-cost prescriptions and medications at Prescription Assistance Network of Stark County, a United Way funded partner. “Without the help of all the staff at PAN,” he says. “I could not afford the medication I have to take. Since my liver transplant, I take 24 pills a day. ... This is a wonderful place to be able to come and get the help I need to maintain myself. I am still fighting the cancer; it came back into my liver. We are working together to try and keep my tumor from spreading. I would be lost without the support from the staff at PAN.”
Our collective gifts also fund United Way’s direct services to our community, such as the 2-1-1 Information & Referral help line. Last year saw a 35 percent increase in our neighbors’ calls for help with rent, electricity and food. This unfortunate trend is likely to result in more than 35,000 requests for help this year.
Page 2 of 2 - Giving during the United Way annual campaign is a way for me to help my neighbors. I know my gift supports programs here at home. And it is treated with accountability as dozens of community volunteers review United Way funded programs and partners and measure results year-round.
HALFWAY THROUGH CAMPAIGN
Today the annual campaign is at the halfway mark, and I believe that Stark County residents, who have a rich history of caring for one another, will act on this opportunity to inspire hope and protect our community’s families.
Please consider reaching out with a financial gift to United Way before Dec. 7. More than ever, we all need to give until it feels good.
Jacqueline DeGarmo lives in Jackson Township and is founder and president of Hilliard Jeane LLC, an educational organization planning and consulting firm.