Thank you Niagara

Thank you Niagara

The word “philanthropy” comes from the Ancient Greek phrase philanthropia – which means “to love people”. Today, the concept explains the act of voluntary giving by people to promote the common good, whether that be time, talents or treasure.

In our first year as United Way Niagara we have been so fortunate to witness philanthropy in all its forms across the region. As the year wraps up, we wanted to share with you and example of how all of your generosity has impacted real lives in our community. Here is just one of the over 163,000 stories you have helped to write.

It was a chilly day outside, but you wouldn’t know it inside the basement of 122 Queenston St. I had been invited to have lunch with 50 women I didn’t know. I arrived not knowing what to expect and was welcomed with huge smiles by a number of “clients”. While chatting with the women of Westview Centre4women I got the pleasure of hearing some of their stories but one has stuck with me.

I offered to clear my own dishes and brought them to the kitchen where I found Judy. She wouldn’t let me start washing dishes but she let me help to pack up the leftovers (which they send home with those who may need an extra meal). While sealing single serve containers, she got to talking about her life. She shared with me that she gets more from working there than the women who stop by do. “What do you mean?” I asked her. Through a flood of tears she told me about her life, she struggled to fit in until she arrived at the doors of 122 Queenston. She had never opened up to anyone before coming here she told me. She never had anyone to turn to when times were tough, so she got into trouble for attention.

“When I first started here, Erika was in charge of the kitchen and on Tuesdays, we’d have chats over putting away groceries; and that’s where I learned a lot about being more open with people. I find now that I can tell people what’s wrong with me. I would run out of here with my anxiety and my panic, and I’d sit near the window in tears. Erika would come over and tell me that I could handle it, I could do it and to breathe. She would talk to me and calm me down, and then the next morning we would talk about what caused it,” she said. “Through Westview, I have found how I can work through my anxiety, and how I can work with other people who are suffering. The best feeling is when someone says, “thanks for that hug this morning; I really needed it” she said.

Philanthropy is what allowed Judy to flourish. It took her over 60 years to find her place, and thanks to your generosity she did. She now has an income, support and is giving back to the place that gave her the greatest gift.

If you have yet to give this year, it's not too late - click here