We were recently a part of keeping two very distraught families in their homes for the holidays in the midst of a pandemic, and with hope on the horizon.

Thanks to Publix and to the truly humbling gift we have to be a part of real and solution-oriented change through the new United Way of Rome & Floyd County, two families won’t be homeless, split apart, and lost to despair when all they needed was a temporary stay because of unavoidable circumstances.

We are working to make this possible for more families in the new year. This work is everything ... because it’s human to human; love and grace in the face of all else; real connection, conversations, and understanding; and sometimes, well, just pure magic. And moments like this bring me to my knees in gratitude.

How very, very lucky am I, are we, that our community has this conduit for real and lasting change, for hope in the face of so much despair. This is working ... who’d a thunk it?! Let’s just be real, though! Difficult, quick, necessary, hard change aside and behind us, this is working, y’all.

This organization is meeting needs and filling gaps no one else can. It’s bringing big money in from outside this community that competes with NO ONE and that we would otherwise forfeit — literally, hundreds of thousands of dollars just gone somewhere else because we didn’t step up and make it work, keep it here at home.

This organization is very much a phoenix, risen from the ashes of many years of history and what came before, offering the same opportunity to so very many ... to all in our community. Rise.

I love this. For as long as this is right and matters and is real and unites and prioritizes what matters most, meeting it all with solutions that answer the call and solve, not soothe, the problems, I love this. I love it so very much. So very many hearts fought to bring us to now, some already serving elsewhere. What a journey. What a bumpy road. And also, welcome to the new normal. We are here, with, for you, as long as you need us.

I will say thank you. To any and everyone who helped lead us to here and now. We wouldn’t be here without you. And we couldn’t go forward without those who continue to serve, without the agencies who continue to partner for the good of us all. Love and gratitude beyond words, abounding. I can’t tag everyone, but the gratitude is no less profound. Thank you.

Alli Mitchell

Executive director United Way of Rome and Floyd County

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