Letter: Help for those less fortunate is needed year-round

To the Editor:

A recent column before Christmas referenced giving back to local charities during the holiday season. I’d like to make the case that the less fortunate among us should be on our minds more often.

While there’s an undeniable philanthropic feeling in the air at Christmastime, nonprofits often require the most help a few months after the holidays. That’s when resources start to dry up. Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, charities receive, on average, 40% of their annual gifts from donors, according to Charity Navigator.

And while nonprofits are always grateful for an extra set of hands during the holidays, most report that the overwhelming amount of help they get during the holidays sometimes disrupts the mission.

Having worked in social service nonprofits for more than a decade, I can attest to giving year-round. So, I am asking you to mark your calendars for mid-March, May and August. Many agencies see a decline in giving after the December holidays and that’s why it’s so vital to give and volunteer during these other times as well.  For those who want to give but have limited money, become an advocate by speaking up for more long-term solutions, such as living wage policies and more affordable healthy food in low-income communities. Write a letter, start a petition, make a call, send a tweet — these are all ways to volunteer while having the greatest impact.

I am also going to ask that you pay attention to what your elected officials are doing. Are they truly working for you and do they walk the walk they preach? Are they helping your town (and reducing your local taxes) by bonding revenue important for our aging infrastructure and schools or to improve commercial corridors to attract new business? Are they ensuring that all people have affordable health care no matter what is done on the federal level, but also young families, young adults starting out, and our seniors? Are they serious about working across the aisle by coming up with solutions to today’s problems?

Having recently attended a transition team meeting to move our great state forward, I am confident that Gov. Lamont will work hard with our new leadership to remedy past problems and attract new business, lower the tax burden, and create opportunities for all who call Connecticut home. I hope our local state representatives are also up for the task.
Monica Tujak Brill
2018 Democratic candidate for 21st State Senate District