By Kate McGuire, Chief Advancement Officer
The November and December holidays are often a time at The Arc Baltimore when we are reminded how deeply our members and contributors care about people with disabilities and about our mission and what we do here. Their offerings and responses to requests are motivating to us – and can be humbling. Let me tell you why.
We sent out a holiday appeal earlier this month and told a story about John from one of our programs in Towson. To put it mildly, he loves to give presents and he takes great care over many months to select meaningful presents for everyone on his shopping list. The story touched more than one reader as notes congratulating John have accompanied contributions.
But there was one note from someone who could not send a contribution, but who took the time to write a note and express her appreciation for our work and explain why she could not send a check. She has a nephew with autism and she is trying to help the family with some expensive therapy needs. She hopes to give to us again in the future.
Some families we know make a small gift every month. Some do it with an automatic debit from their credit card so they can spread their gift out over the year. Some of our families do the same, but retain a habit from years past and send their monthly gifts in envelopes we’ve provided, or in their own. This habit often continues, even if a loved one we knew may have passed. One such gift came last week from a mother who is missing her daughter who passed away suddenly this past year. We feel her anguish. November and December holidays aren’t always easy times.
A long-time board volunteer heard about a new program we are fundraising for (with a challenge grant fundraising match requirement) and he increased his usual contribution by nearly 40%. Another board member responded to a request for Thanksgiving food packages – and delivered an overflowing bag the next day. Our volunteer leadership are so invested in our mission and we appreciate their commitment.
Lastly, an employee of one of our employers contacted me last week. He said that his division collects $1 every week from employees who want to enjoy casual Friday dress. They want to give the collection to The Arc. It’s such a small way to make a difference – but so meaningful.
These are but a few recent examples of the generosity of treasure and spirit that we witness. Donations come large and small, and honestly, mostly small, but no less impactful. We work hard to remind and convince our readers that it’s a good time to give. State funds are very restricted. It’s the contributions from family members, friends, and others who admire and care about people with disabilities that can help us do the extras – emergency assistance for eviction prevention, construction of wheelchair ramps, outings with friends, or even a telephone headset so a gentleman who can’t grip the receiver can still talk to his girlfriend. Simple things. Vital things.
These “extras” aren’t really extra to the people we impact. They are essential. It’s why we shared John’s story and why we appeal for your support. It’s why we are grateful for every single contribution entrusted to us.
Thank you, and no matter the holiday you celebrate, let it be peaceful, healthy, and full.