We’re only weeks away from Christmas, and if your house is anything like mine, it’s a flurry of activity.  Nicholas the Elf on the Shelf (so named by my daughter, Addison) creates nightly havoc.  Addison decorated the tree the other day, and I must say, she did a phenomenal job.  Christmas music is on the radio, and that holiday spirit is definitely in the air.

As the weather turns colder, I’m reminded of a client that your donation helps to support.  Earlier this year, Deja and her daughter 2 year old daughter, Aurora, were found sleeping in their car.  Like hundreds of people each year in McLean County, they found themselves homeless and without a viable place to turn.

Did you know that over the last year more than 80 women between the ages of 18 to 22 found themselves homeless and either pregnant or with a young child?  Not all of the shelters in town have the available space or the appropriate services to accommodate.  Where are these young women to turn?

I fear that some may read that last paragraph and either deny the problem exists, judge the situations these 80+ found themselves in, or even minimize the extent of the problem because the numbers aren’t sufficiently large enough to be jarring.

Do we want to accept that as a community?  Would we be fulfilling our true potential as long as there is even 1 woman or 1 child in need like this?  What about Aurora and her future?

I raise these questions not to alarm but to educate.  For Aurora, there wasn’t an Elf on the Shelf or a tree.  These needs do exist in McLean County, and there are more children just like her.  And there are people like me and organizations like ours are dedicated to this fight.

We fight for Aurora.  We fight for Deja.  We fight to ensure that our community lives up to its’ full potential.  Each year dedicated people in our social services sector strive to ensure that these needs are met.  Caring individuals can and do make a difference each day.

You’ve seen previous posts in our newsletters about the concept of “180united”.  In the coming weeks, we’ll share more of this story, and through their eyes, you’ll see what kind of 180’s are possible with your help.

We’ll share videos and information to demonstrate why your support is important and the huge difference it makes in the lives of those people in our community that you may not have realized faced such a struggle.

During this season, there are many worthwhile causes to consider for a gift, and I would hope that you consider a gift to United Way of McLean County.  Help us create more 180’s here in McLean County!

And don’t forget to move the Elf!!  😊