Giving Thanks to the people behind our Not for Profit Sector

October 8, 2020

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time of food, family and friends – a time to reflect on the people we are grateful for, on the experiences that have enriched our lives, and to intentionally focus on what truly matters.    It’s always been my favourite holiday.

It’s hard not to think about Thanksgivings of years gone by.  The pre-covid Thanksgiving looks quite different than the one we’ll have mid-pandemic and we can only hope that with all the precautions taken, that next year’s holiday will return to some semblance of normal.

These uncertain times have resulted in a heightened awareness of who I am thankful for; of course friends and family – we’re forever grateful for them and never quite sure where we’d be without them – but this year, my gratefulness extends to an additional group of people – those who are making the community I live in, the one I call home, stronger and safer.  My thanks to those who, since the beginning of this pandemic, have been very quietly working behind the scenes to limit its impact on our community. That is no small feat. It is one that requires compassion, empathy, hope and a dedication to serving others. I am grateful for this group of people. Those who work or volunteer in the not-for-profit sector or the social sector, however we want to label it –  have worked every single day – Every Single Day – during this pandemic.  They have challenged their organizations limits – they broadened their mandates – they very quickly, quietly and efficiently mobilized their teams of staff and volunteers to respond to the rapidly changing environment that we were all thrust into. Make no mistake, not for profit organizations do not operate themselves – they are run, passionately, by people in our community.

In my humble opinion, the social sector helped, in dramatic ways, to create the time and space necessary for our health care sector to be able to focus on the health crisis. Because as we know a person who struggles with their mental health often ends up at the hospital. Someone suffering from an addiction often ends up in the emergency room. Someone who is homeless and lacks the basic needs of life often ends up in the care of doctors and nurses. The social sector responded to the social crisis – so that the health care sector could focus on the health crisis. Caring for our community is a partnership. It requires coordination and collaboration. While our systems are not perfect, and there are certainly gaps that need filling, the people who work, staff or volunteer, in this field are remarkable. Because they are human, they’re also tired. And they’re concerned about the future. And they’re wondering if they can keep up this pace during the second wave.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, there are teams of people in a kitchen preparing a meal for those who need it; there are people taking calls to support those in a mental health crisis; there are people working in shelters and group homes, there are people who have spent the last several months giving everything they had to the people they support at work. We see you.  We are proud to work together with you. You ARE making a difference.  Thank you for all you do.

 

Brandi Hodge

Executive Director

United Way Hastings & Prince Edward