February Is for Letter Writing

By United Way of King County, on March 15, 2021 | In Emerging Leaders 365, Volunteering

This blog post was written by Emerging Leaders 365 donor and Committee Member Andrea Gohlke–Guest Product Delivery Manager at Alaska Airlines

Through all stages of life there are few things that I can think of that provide more pure joy and elation, than opening up your mailbox to find a HANDWRITTEN letter. I feel fortunate in that sending notes was instilled in me as a young child. My mother had us drafting and then rewriting (with our best penmanship) notes from a young age.

While at the time it seemed to be a chore that wasn’t fun, it taught me the art of thoughtful connections and is something I still enjoy to this day. Whether it’s a Post-It left on a screen monitor, a slip of paper tucked into a lunch box, a postcard sent from a road trip or just the elusive unicorn of handwriting on an envelope, I think we all feel a bit of excitement welling up when our eyes spy something personally addressed just to us.

For February, a month when Valentine’s are generally rampant, 40 Emerging Leaders 365 volunteers took time to put pen to paper and send heartfelt notes of appreciation to the AmeriCorps teammates and some United Way of King County partner organizations. Each volunteer was sent addresses of the person or teams they were sending a note to, and empowered to express thanks and gratitude to the people who are working so hard to provide resources, food security, and act as beacons of hope and safe harbors for many individuals. In total, nearly 150 postcards or letters were sent. It was not only a great exercise in reviving the ol’ handwriting skills, but also a moment of reflection to appreciate the depth and breadth of the work that United Way of King County does. The amount of support that is generated through United Way cascades to communities in King County in a thoughtful meaningful way.

Here’s just a few examples of what our AmeriCorps support:

  • 3,900 meals delivered each week to families with difficulty reaching food banks
  • Pop-up food distribution sites on area campuses
  • Helping families access increased federal and state benefits.
  • Roughly 70% of people served identify as BIPOC

Check out this video to learn more about the work AmeriCorps members do to fight institutional and structural racism and connect families and individuals to resources and support they need.

Additionally, being that this was a virtual opportunity, recruits were enlisted in writing notes from as far south as Texas. It was a special opportunity to share about the work that United Way of King County does to folks who aren’t local. Letter writing is something that has long been near and dear to my heart and hopefully those on the receiving end also felt like a little ray of sunshine was sprinkled into their day. Snail mail for the win.

If you’re looking for other ways to get involved with Emerging Leaders 365, check out our March volunteer opportunity or bring some friends for some of our virtual events.


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