An attitude of gratitude makes life better

By: By Julie Capaldi - Contributing columnist

The last few months have been hard for me. Two of my colleagues…the ones who handle finance and donor records, experienced some health issues that kept them out of the office for several weeks.

I missed them dearly because I really like them. But, I had to do their jobs while doing mine and it made me “cranky”. I did my best and thankfully didn’t make any major mistakes. Then my horse and dog died within a month and I couldn’t muster up one ounce of creativity…for weeks.

I am sure my Sentinel-Progress “boss” Kasie Strickland is plenty mad at me for my lack of articles but I just couldn’t find anything inspirational to write about … until now.

Christmas time at United Way of Pickens County is a three ring circus. People are extraordinarily generous. They have donated toys for children who would have nothing, and hygiene articles for the homeless count in January. PetSmart of Easley donated at least 1,000 stuffed animals for us to distribute.

I love to go to the Easley post office to see the surprises. What fun! This year, instead of being all melancholy and depressed, I have embraced the insanity and it has actually lifted me up out of this funk. Thank God!

Ordinarily, donor data is entered into our system and “thank you” letters are printed for me to sign. I like to write personal notes on every letter so the donor knows just how much they are appreciated for their generosity. It’s time consuming, but in the era of digital and social media, I think the handwritten note is a lost art.

When our data guru finally made it back to work…in a wheelchair I might add, she had to play a mighty game of “catch up” with the data entry. When she finally was able to print the thank you letters for me, it was a monumentally HUGE stack.

I realized something really important while working on those letters for hours. I knew a good many of the folks personally. But there were still others that I didn’t know at all. Some gave through their employer’s United Way workplace campaign. Others worked in neighboring counties, yet they went through the trouble to designate their gift back to Pickens County. A few didn’t want to be thanked at all, and a few asked to be anonymous.

Nothing is harder for me than not thanking a donor. The “experts” stress that if the donor doesn’t want to be acknowledged … DON’T.

I am going to use my column that the Sentinel-Progress has so graciously provided me, to tell our donors how I feel about them.

Dear donor, it’s important that you know, I think about you every day. When I send the checks that go to fund programs that feed the hungry, shelter the homeless or provide hope, I think of you. When I hear about children who are loving school for the first time in their lives, I think of you.

Did you know that you make a difference? EVERY DAY! It’s obvious that you care. A LOT.

I love our donors. That’s right. Love them. Because without them, our lives, our families and our community would look different, and not in a good way. Because without them, the work that we do, wouldn’t happen and that would be awfully sad.

So dear donor, as you celebrate the joy of the season, I hope you feel joy in your heart, knowing that you matter…and hundreds of people, right here at home, love you too. Thank you and I wish you and your family the happiest of holidays.

By Julie Capaldi

Contributing columnist

Julie Capaldi is president of United Way of Pickens County. She can be reached at or 864-850-7094, extension 101.

Julie Capaldi is president of United Way of Pickens County. She can be reached at or 864-850-7094, extension 101.