A Small Helping of Comfort

UWCC Executive Director Thankful for Giving Community

By Angie Matthiessen, Executive Director – United Way of Charlotte County

Homemade yeast rolls, piping hot right out of the oven – brush them with melted butter and you have the very definition of comfort food.

Maybe your idea of comfort food looks more like chicken and noodles, stuffing and a giant helping of mashed potatoes. Or perhaps you are envisioning the Thanksgiving dessert table at Grandma’s house. Either way, you know the feeling of comfort that I am trying to describe. It is a feeling of warmth and peace and contentment.

At United Way of Charlotte County, we receive many requests from individuals and families seeking nothing more than to experience that feeling of comfort. We don’t get phone calls asking for mansions, fancy cars or shopping sprees. The humble voices we hear on the other end of the line simply ask where they can get diapers or groceries or just enough money to keep the lights on this month. They ask if we can help them get school clothes or shoes or toiletries.

They ask for a small helping of comfort.

When someone asks me, “What does United Way do?” I can’t help but smile. The answer is we serve as the holiday table of human comforts. We mobilize the power of our community through monetary donations, volunteer time and energy, and tangible donations (things like children’s books, diapers and wipes), and we share this simple spread with those who are desperate for just a taste of the comforts that many of us often take for granted.

As Thanksgiving heads our way this week, I am thankful for so many things. I am thankful for my family, especially my husband, Britt, who I met the day after Thanksgiving oh-so-many years ago. We have lost three parents between us, and I will always cherish and be thankful for memories of holiday traditions with them. With the recent passing of my father-in-law, a tradition that sticks out in my mind is that of the many turkey carvings he took the lead on over the years. And with our daughter in her high school years, I am keenly aware of and thankful for all the special times I share with her.

Perhaps most of all, I am thankful to live and work in such a giving community. I am thankful for each of you who have joined with us this year to break the cycle of poverty. You joined with us in collecting clothing for women, providing diapers for new parents, giving gift cards and supplies to nonprofit agencies, offering free tax preparation for low-income taxpayers, and so much more.  

While we led the charge to mobilize, it was your generosity that brought a small helping of comfort to Charlotte County. And for that, I thank 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 director@unitedwayccfl.org.