We are often told to volunteer or to donate to a cause that is bigger than us as individuals – to give to “the greater good”. While I do appreciate that sentiment, in my years volunteering with Lubbock Area United Way and working closely with the organization to address community needs, I have realized that the United Way’s Annual Campaign is not “bigger” than me as an individual. It is me. It’s you. It’s all of us helping all of us. While the Annual Campaign is an amazingly large endeavor, every donor is needed and noticed.
Serving on the board of directors and in other roles, I have the good fortune to see the impact of each dollar in our community and how far our Community Partners can stretch those dollars. It’s something I wish every volunteer and donor had the privilege to see. I have come to understand the false stigma that our community needs are concentrated in only certain parts of the South Plains or certain demographics of people. Part of my job as this year’s Campaign Chair is to help show that United Way is you (every single one of you) and to convey the importance of every single dollar. To show you how your contribution, regardless of the amount, matters tremendously and how far it goes to help you and your neighbors directly. Us (you and me), helping us.
As 2020 came in, I knew I wanted to figure out ways to show this to whomever I spoke with. Little did we know that a global pandemic would provide a means for us to see this play out in real-time. While COVID-19 provides many obstacles and heartaches, I’ve seen a silver lining, watching in amazement as our community stands strong and continues to seek those in need. To see our community rally to be one of the first to offer a response fund to directly help those affected was inspiring. To know that we are part of a community that takes care of each other makes me excited to see how I know we will respond and give to the Annual Campaign this year.
The mission is not done. We are still Giving • People • Hope every single day, and we will continue to do so until every person on the South Plains can fully access all they need to live, to work, and to raise their families. We will do so because it’s not bigger than me or you. It is me, it is you, and that’s where hope starts. Hope starts here – in you, in your neighborhood, in our community.
Thank you for being involved with United Way. Thank you for being United Way. Together, let’s do something amazing.
AJ Martinez, 2020 Campaign Chair