It may just look like a collection of scrawled signatures on 8.5 x 11 paper, but for Angela Kenny, collecting signatures for United Way's Statement of Support is a commitment she has made to fight poverty in her community.
When Angela was asked to sign a statement card committing to help end poverty in the region, she didn't have to think twice. She began asking everyone she knew to sign. "There was a point in my life when I had a lot and then a part when I didn't," explains Angela, adding that having utilized community services in the past she knows their value firsthand. "Poverty shouldn't exist" she says, "especially in a province like Alberta."
Amanda Bennett agrees, she's been collecting signatures this past year by asking her neighbours if they want to end poverty in the community. She sees it is a simple and powerful way to help her community.
United Way first asked people to sign statement cards in June 2013 during their public launch of Creating Pathways Out of Poverty, a results based approach to community building which focuses on results, and collaborations with key partners, to ultimately end poverty in the Alberta Capital Region.
The statement wasn't meant as a petition to bring before government. Instead, it was designed as a simple action people could take to join with United Way and stand up against poverty in the community.
Statement cards have since been handed out during poverty simulations, United Way events and passed out to businesses in the community. In addition, visitors to United Way's website can sign electronically. To date, more than 1300 people have signed the statement and their names are being proudly displayed at the United Way office, filling up an entire wall..
Putting your name on one of these statement cards can be a simple but powerful act, and Angela sees the results in herself and in the mindfulness of her friends. "It's all about awareness," she says, "I have friends telling me that since signing, they now donate a hamper of food to the food bank every time they go to Safeway." And, with 1300 signatures and counting, imagine the ripples those names scribbled on paper will continue to make.