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October 29, 2008

National Make a Difference Day in Guilford

Make a Difference Day is one of the largest national events for helping others-a celebreation of neighbors helping neighbors. Created by USA weekend magazine, Make a Difference Day is an annual event that takes place on the fourth Saturday of every October. Making this year's date October 25.

In greater New Haven, Guilford Social Services(GSS) reached out their hands and made a difference for all of their hungry neighbors. GSS galvanized volunteers accross the community to collect and sort canned goods and toiletries to stock the shelves of the Guilford Food Bank (GFB). The postal service in Guilford collected the donations on rural routes and drove them to the GFB. One by one they drove in with boxes of food and smiling faces.

Tammy DiFrancesco, Executive Director of GSS says, " I have been organizing this event for 13 years and feed an average of 200 families per month". In these trying economic times and with economic and educational disparities growing, many people will have to rely on community drives and the kindness of strangers to meet basic needs.

As I walked over to Tammy to give her a food donation and financial donation from United Way, I quickly thought to mysef, " is this going to be enough"? and then I realized, as I looked at all of the volunteers furiously sorting and collecting food, yes, for today it is. It was enough because I saw people connecting and working for a common goal. United Way of Greater New Haven recognizes the power of civic engagment and the connections we create when we all join together for the common good. Wether it be matching companies to a meaningful community project, holding a regional diaper drive or collecting food for families-It is about Living United.

Many people are currently facing some of the worst decisions in their lives with regards to heating their homes and feeding their families. This is the time to connect, to engage and to give to those less fortunate. When we reach out a hand to one, we change the conditions for all.

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