Life is a series of choices and chances. Throughout that journey, we all make a combination of good choices and bad choices, and are perpetually subject to good and bad chance, which is out of our control. In consequence, when you have experienced good fortune, it is natural to feel guilt when you see a neighbor down on their luck. A typical response is to equate that inequity to choices as opposed to chances to ease the feelings of guilt.
We are all subject to sudden changes in luck that don’t account for any of our choices whether good or bad. Nothing clarifies that reality more than a hurricane like Floyd or Florence, a Great Recession, or a Pandemic to drastically and unexpectedly change a family’s financial outlook. A hurricane, recession, or pandemic does not have consideration for a person’s choices. Two families with identical choice patterns can end up on different sides of the poverty line in the aftermath.
I once interviewed a series of food pantry recipients to collect data I could use to develop resources for hunger relief. I will never forget asking a mother of three who held three jobs if she had ever had to skip meals for her children because she did not have enough food. She answered with more than words, as her tears flowed down her face. She had made similar choices as many of us, but became a victim of domestic violence. Subsequently, she fled her home due to having to make the choice to save her children and herself, with no income.
The interview changed my life forever. My level of dedication to my community skyrocketed as I told myself, “We can do better than this, we are better than this!” We should all be grateful if we are currently experiencing prosperity. We should also give until it hurts to those who are not.
Your local United Way has been here for Cape Fear since 1941. No matter how many times we are knocked down (Pearl Harbor, Floyd, Great Recession, Florence and now COVID-19) we will always continue to stand up for a healthy, safe, and prosperous community for everyone. Please join our nonprofits, volunteers and contributors - make a stand with us.
Tommy Taylor, born in Mansfield, Ohio, achieved his Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Guilford College, and most recently achieved his Masters in Public Administration from UNCW in 2019. Tommy’s career started as a Crisis and College Counselor at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Virginia. After 4 years, Tommy moved to his favorite vacation spot, Wilmington, North Carolina, and started his new career as the Regional Development Manager for Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC. Six years later, after tripling food distribution and doubling revenues, he accepted the Vice President of Community Impact position at the United Way of the Cape Fear Area. Now serving as the CEO, Tommy is thankful to be able to see the good side of the world that many people do not get a chance to experience and to be able to be part of the solutions to our community's deepest problems.
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