'Empathy' in high supply during recession: United Way CEO - Metro US

‘Empathy’ in high supply during recession: United Way CEO

Tough times can bring out the best in people.

And that is the case here, according to the president and CEO of United Way of Halifax Region.

“We’re seeing people rally forward,” Catherine J. Woodman told Metro Halifax. “We’re seeing people really seizing this an opportunity to get involved.”

As the country fights through a recession, Woodman says the need is great in Halifax Regional Municipality for people to give back to their communities.

And volunteering or donating doesn’t have to involve giving money, she’s quick to add.

She says there are many other ways to give back, from stuffing envelopes for a not-for-profit charity to visiting seniors in nursing homes.

“It doesn’t always come out of the pocket. It can come out of the heart and also be a meaningful way to contribute,” she proclaims. “We operate on the premise that everyone has something to contribute; it is just finding out what’s the best fit for them.”

Woodman says the United Way works with 55 not-for-profit organizations in HRM, and anyone interested in volunteering can sit down with organizers to find out what might be the best way for them to help.

She says there has been consistently more demand for not-for-profit groups in the last five to 10 years, but with the recession getting so much attention, “individuals have a lot more empathy right now for others who are struggling.”

“It’s harder and we’re working harder, but we’re still getting tremendous support from the community,” she says. “Some people have less to give, but they’re still giving.”

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