Being Kind and Thoughtful With One Another
Each September, it’s Publix Campaign time. We are lucky to partner with nine local Publix stores in Charlotte County. After a two year hiatus, we are pleased to be back in the stores connecting with the associates in person. It is always a joy to speak with folks who have a long standing relationship with giving to their community through UWCC. In addition, there are many new associates since the pandemic began and sharing about our mission is always a pleasure.
Each associate is versed in their Publix Mission Statement and can quote it if asked --- to be involved as responsible citizens in our communities. Founder, Mr. George Jenkins picked United Way over 40 years ago to make a difference in each of the communities they serve. Now in nine states, Publix is our #1 Global Leader.
The Publix theme for this year’s campaign – Kindness, Multiplied – this resonates with the general thoughts that people are feeling. Getting back to our roots of just being kind and thoughtful with one another.
Over the last several months one of the largest aha moments I have had has been this… the need for human connection across our community, across all ages. And the need for community identity, belonging and having hope.
Recently a UWCC volunteer shared how an older person they work with has relied on her weekly visits to Publix for a social connection opportunity. It got me thinking what a special place a grocery store is. Most particularly our Publix stores. During the pandemic, thankfully they did not close, just kept smiling even under the masks and they kept us hoping.
Many of our Publix associates have their own struggles, but like many in the service industry caring for our community, you would never know it. Mr. Jenkins taught from the very beginning and with his legacy, what he believed to his core, the importance of giving back to the people who shop at his stores. Through United Way, the associates donate and those dollars are invested back into the community. When their customers need help, the help is available for them.
Kindness and Hope go hand in hand. It can be as simple as opening the door for someone, making eye contact and offering up that smile. As one of my favorite authors, Charles Martin, writes, “Hope is what feeds us. It’s the currency of mankind. The fuel of the soul”.
Can I encourage you to reach out to a loved one or friend; go say hi to your favorite Publix associate and thank them; share your hope with another? Even a simple text to check on someone, a handwritten note dropped in a neighbor’s mailbox are small steps that make a huge difference for both the receiver and the giver. Kindness. Multiplied.
What is one thing you will try this week to connect with someone? Drop me a note at email@example.com. I would love to hear from you.
For more information about United Way of Charlotte County’s mission: Mobilizing the power of our community to break the cycle of poverty, please contact Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director. She can be reached at 941-627-3539.