Let’s All Do Our Part in This Season of Giving

By Gordon McHenry, Jr., on November 20, 2022 | In Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, News, Volunteering

It’s that time of year when we are more focused and energized around giving and gratefulness. We see that at United Way of King County in terms of folks being active through volunteering and donating money and in-kind goods. Giving is woven into the fabric of cultural and religious holidays and is synonymous with family, food and festivities.

This November, the giving season marks the close of another tumultuous year. You might be excused for being a bit drained right now, as this it’s been challenging to remain hopeful in 2022 (see 2021 and 2020) while our region and our nation continue to be maligned by income inequality, housing instability, economic uncertainty, racial unrest social injustice, and uncivil political discourse.

Yet amid all that might bring us down, we see progress, in our work to keep people in homes and find shelter for those experiencing homelessness, in our programs that help workers keep more of their hard-earned pay, through our services that help educate students from early learning through college and through our advocacy for legislation that helps improve qualities of life for residents.

Giving helped make that possible, not only in the season of charity, but year-round.

  • Giving breeds community. It illustrates that we are all connected in this region, and we are at our best and more effective when we work together as a community and embrace collective action to help our neighbors.
  • Giving engenders innovation. United Way’s Home Grocery program provides more than 6,700 meals per week to households in King County, and our Bridge to Finish program serves thousands of college students annually with a one-stop shop of resources to help stay in school. Those innovations were made possible through public and private sector gifts to guide those programs from concept to reality. 
  • Giving supports our interconnectedness. It is rare when a person is not in need of some support or some love from another person. It is in giving that we show our support for one another.

As I consider firsthand the power of interconnectedness and giving, one memory that comes to mind is that of my mother, who died in December 2019. She was 94, confined to her home and her bed; her intellect and emotions were strong, but her body was weak and weakening fast.

In her last four months of life, I got a lot of support from families and friends. Their presence, their visits to my mom, the sharing of stories, their caregiving going above and beyond. We had a lot of support and it wasn’t so much that I asked for the support as much as it was out of love gratefulness for my mother.

It is rare when a person is not in need of some support or some love from another person. It is in giving that we show our support for one another.

Gordon McHenry, Jr., United Way of King County president & CEO

Often, we may never see those who benefit from our support. Yet at United Way, we know firsthand that some child in Renton, some family in Shoreline, some college student in Auburn, some grandparent in South Seattle, some formerly homeless veteran in North Bend, is better off because of it.

So, in this holiday season and beyond, we ask that you take action to continue to help those who could use the support and love of a grateful, interconnected community.


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