Giving back once you can
Why do people give? And why to United Way? Whether they give in large or small amounts, we’ve spoken with some of our donors and asked them why. In this series of posts, we’ll share with you what they told us.
Here is what Bryce and Irene had to say (not their real names).
“We both came from working class families (in Scotland), and you would describe us as fairly poor,” says Bryce. “When we were growing up, when I first met Irene, I was an apprentice and Irene worked in an office. We both had lost family members, so we were struggling, I guess, to make ends meet.
“You may have heard the saying ‘Can I borrow a cup of sugar?’ That was real in our days. And it was not uncommon for one family to go knocking on another and ask to borrow a cup of sugar until payday.
“Later I went to college for nine months … so I had to earn enough money in three months to support Irene and I, plus we had a couple young kids, through the other nine months. And my wife’s grandmother used to always slip us a few pounds, you know, to keep us going, which was extremely helpful. At the time, I played soccer, and I played at a fairly high level, so I used to get paid to play … so those items helped a lot to help us through the lean times.”
“I guess we felt that, at some point in time, we might be in a position to give back, and we were happy to be able to do so when we could.”
And they certainly have, following the example of Bryce’s aunt.
“She’s passed away now, but she was a member of the Salvation Army from 16 years of age in Glasgow,” he says. “She was 91 when she passed away and she was still active. In her words, she would say, ‘I’m going to visit the old folks.’ She’s a role model.”
Irene and Bryce’s experience with United Way started in Alberta, where Bryce’s engineering company would hold an annual week-long drive for United Way. Their fundraising would get imaginative.
“I said, ‘Why don’t we get a sheep-shearing competition going?’ I said, ‘I will donate my hair. If I can raise enough money, then I will let the local hairdresser come in and shave my head.’”
A few other employees joined in, and they managed to raise more than $10,000.
“There are always innovative ways that you can put into play to help raise funds. It doesn’t always have to be working the phones or knocking on doors. There are other things you can do. And it was a lot of fun – very cold, when I first done it.”
Bryce and Irene say they choose to support United Way because the money goes to frontline work that happens in the local community, and it keeps administration costs low.
“Ask yourself the question, ‘Am I in a position to give?’” says Bryce. “If you can, you should. If you can’t, hopefully you will be in a position to, some day.
“We are all on this planet together. We are all here for a relatively short time, and nobody deserves to go through their life always wanting, always hungry, when we are probably at the richest part in our entire existence, and there is more money than you can count out there.”
These are some of the reasons why Bryce and Irene give. Thank you for being United Way Central & Northern Vancouver Island supporters. It’s donors like you that truly make an impact in your community.