There are numerous reasons to be anxious. Whether the reasons are personal or macro global concerns, what we all crave is a sense of safety and, ultimately, belonging.
As we both know from our work in journalism and philanthropy, focused, local actions are what create the conditions that make change possible, turning anxious energy into awesome action. Each person who has shared a story as part of this year’s Season of Sharing campaign – and each person who has supported neighbors in need in response – is helping strengthen the character of our caring community.
This year’s Season of Sharing campaign, which helps people in crisis with emergency rent, child care, utility and transportation costs, once again rose to great heights with $3.67 million raised in the last 90 days –including six $100,000 matching gifts from our partners with The Patterson Foundation.
To say we’re grateful and in awe of the response of all the givers cannot be overstated. These dollars make an immediate and profound difference to people encountering unforeseen increases in rental rates, unexpected health challenges or other circumstances that could put any of us in a challenging position.
We hope reporter Saundra Amrhein’s profile series of people who have found solace and support through Season of Sharing has offered compassionate understanding for individuals as well as understanding for circumstances. We know in addition to monetary gifts made to the campaign, some readers also offered airplane tickets and jobs to some of the people who shared their stories, and others purchased artwork from another person who courageously allowed us to publish some of their greatest challenges.
How we care for our friends and neighbors matters, and that is important from how we tell stories to why we choose to help. We live in a generous community and both of our organizations understand Season of Sharing is needed all year long. The network of caseworkers who rely on Season of Sharing put these dollars to immediate use after Hurricane Ian. They’ve done the same during the early, unsettling time of the coronavirus pandemic, and before that when tourism seasons were disrupted by red tide and affected the livelihood of many whose incomes vary depending on nature- and economically-induced headwinds.
A generous community
In the months ahead articles will continue to delve more deeply into issues like housing, wages and local policies that make Season of Sharing so needed in our community. These stories are meant to remind readers of our communal “why” – that a generous community is one that we build together every day – and to go beyond generating awareness.
Season of Sharing empowers everyone to take action, whatever their ability to give. Thanks to The Patterson Foundation’s longstanding commitment to this campaign and the power of journalism, their matching gift opportunity buoys everyone’s giving. During a time when costs are rising, this is especially appreciated to help gifts of all sizes go further.
To every contributor and reader, thank you for your commitment to ensuring the awe-inducing character of our community is united around helping others.
See this editorial, as it originally appeared in Sarasota Herald-Tribune on Feb. 12, 2023, here.