From the Desk of Dr. Hudson: Lighting the Way Through the Holiday Season

While many of us are busy hanging decorations, shopping for gifts, and preparing meals this holiday season, I wanted to take a moment to thank our partners, volunteers, supporters, and community for everything you have done to Light the Way for those in need this year.

Together, we have made an incredible difference in the lives of so many individuals and families across Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties.

Here are just a few of the achievements I’m celebrating this holiday season:

  • We served 660,679 individuals – connecting them to services and support to meet their immediate needs and work toward long-term stability.
  • United Way’s advocacy efforts helped to secure a substantial increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for working families, boosting incomes to help lift families out of poverty.
  • In October, we merged with United Way of Washtenaw County to maximize our impact and create a brighter future for our region.
  • Our Racial Equity Fund granted $1 million to organizations led by and serving people of color, bringing the total investment to $2 million coupled with ongoing training and support.
  • We closed out another successful 21-Day Equity Challenge with more than 9,252 participants committed to building more equitable communities.
  • We continued to lift up literacy and build a foundation for success by distributing more than 33,181 books to children through our Little Free Libraries and book fairs.
  • Last but certainly not least, our tireless volunteers have logged 40,000 volunteer hours and counting as we close out the year.

Of course, this year hasn’t been without difficult moments. We continue to hold space for those who have lost loved ones due to senseless acts of gun violence and those impacted by the global atrocities that have dominated recent news cycles. We also understand that closer to home, more and more families are struggling under the weight of rising prices and the end of COVID-era supports.

In the midst of dark days, it can feel difficult to find joy. However, it is in these moments that the human spirit often shines brightest. We are reminded to hold our loved ones a little bit closer and called to look toward the small moments of solace. For me, that’s the sound of my son’s laughter or the first bite of macaroni and cheese.

During this time, I also reflect on a quote from the beloved poet and activist Maya Angelou, “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within you.”

The holiday season – no matter your faith or how you celebrate – offers us all an opportunity to be a beacon of hope for our community. When we each commit to shining our light, we illuminate a path to a brighter future.

I hope you’ll find ways to be the light for others this holiday season. Whether it’s offering a kind word and a smile, making a donation, or volunteering, never underestimate the power of a single action. Your warmth can spark a chain reaction that makes a difference in the life of one person and permeates, impacting many. Together we can light the way.

Wishing you and your family joy, peace, and love during the holiday season and beyond.