A Publication of WTVP

Many of us feel overwhelmed by the number of things that need to be done during the holiday season. Add to that the needs of others—and the decision about how to prioritize our time, talents, and gifts—and the end of the year can be one of our busiest times.

More and more, people are looking at their own communities for opportunities to give to others. We hear more about world peace, world hunger, and worldwide needs during the holiday season, but solutions to these problems can often be found and started right here at home. Making a difference in our own little part of the world is a great place to start.

Locally, the Peoria area has several nonprofit organizations and human service agencies that help others in need all year long. Are annual holiday drives enough? Probably not; the challenges facing those served by these agencies must be met 12 months out of the year. We can’t just give food and gifts and then forget about providing meaningful employment, job training, educational assistance, and childcare the rest of the year.

We’re very blessed in our own area to have a community of volunteers that “just do it.” Several individuals put together numerous food baskets, cook meals, purchase toys, visit with seniors, and much, much more. Out of our collective caring, many special holiday needs can be met.

But what can I do? What can my office do? It’s easy to find ways to give to others during this time of year. From donations to gifts of time, several opportunities await your thoughtfulness. Consider adding a volunteer event or special gift drive to your office holiday party plans, or gather your family together to help other families in need. It may just be the start of a year-round giving plan.

The way we view helping others, as individuals or as groups, determines our community’s future. Our contributions can even impact our community’s economic development. Our philanthropy and leadership should assist agencies in the way they serve our community and the way we, ultimately, want our community members helped. 

It’s up to us to ask the questions about what needs to be done, and it’s up to us, collectively, to make sure we answer these questions—not just during the month of December, but all year long. The Heart of Illinois United Way is dedicated to finding solutions in our community, and we hope others will continue to unite with us in our efforts.

Here’s to a happy and rewarding New Year. IBI