Ronda Graff

Community Connections

News and views from the McCook Community Foundation Fund


Make an impact by voting and donating

Thursday, October 29, 2020

To say next week is important is an understatement. The 2020 elections are finally here, thank goodness. And as if that wasn’t enough, Big Give McCook is next Thursday, Nov. 5.

Add on top of that the fact we’ll have just wrapped up Halloween, still adjusting to the time change and wondering about the never-ending threat of quarantine from Covid.

And by the way, it’s a full moon this weekend.

While we don’t have a say about most of those issues (O.K. we don’t have to gorge ourselves on Snickers), we can have impact by voting and by donating.

Let’s start with the election. It has been a contentious year to say the least. With so much focus on the national election, the local races have gotten lost in the shuffle, which is unfortunate because they have just as much if not more of an impact on our daily lives.

Here’s a test: While everyone knows who is running for president, can you name the three McCook school board candidates? Hint, they are all incumbents. Can you name the three people running for the two open seats on the McCook City Council? How about the two Red Willow County Commissions vying for the one spot?

These elected officials control millions of tax dollars and decide policies, which will have an impact on us for years and years to come. Local elections should have equal if not more precedence than national politics. Local civic knowledge actually has an impact on a community.

Thanks to a recommendation by Andy Long, I have been reading “Our Towns - A 100,000-Mile Journey Into the Heart of America” by James and Deborah Fallows over the past year. The couple travels across the country over the course of several years visiting several dozen towns to learn what makes them thrive -- or struggle -- including Atwood, Kan.

At the end, they use anecdotal evidence to derive a list of 10 things that make a community a success.

I won’t go into all of them but the first item is relevant now more than ever: “People work together on practical local possibilities, rather than allowing bitter disagreements about national politics to keep them apart.”

Yes, we need the national government, but ultimately, it is local resilience which makes a community successful.

So while most of the focus may be on the national election, we should have greater awareness about our local elections. If you haven’t voted yet, research all the candidates to learn what they want to do to make our community better.

Or better yet, we are a small community, so reach out to the candidates. And ask them their thoughts on taxes, on improvements, on collaboration, on how they intend to make an impact during their time in office. Even if the seat is uncontested, have the candidate explain why they are the best person for the job.

Making an informed, educated vote about all the candidates is one way to make an impact.

But another way to make an impact next week is by making a donation.

The fifth annual Big Give McCook takes place on Thursday, Nov. 5 from midnight to midnight. This is your opportunity to show your support for these organizations with your donation.

The organizations involved in Big Give McCook are truly necessary if you want to have local resiliency. They provide the safety net for those down on their luck. They are behind the projects which make this a great place to live. They help make our day-to-days better as well as improve our community for generations to come.

For some of these organizations, these donations are used for operational expenses. Your dollars literally help keep their doors open and the shelves stocked.

For others, your donation is what will make the difference on whether a project happens. Your dollars will help determine if our community will be better five years from now or if it’s just status quo.

As I’ve said for the past five years, every dollar matters. When the Community Chest committee was setting up this program five years ago, the original name was “Give Big McCook,’ but “giving big” was not what was the most important or what makes it a success.

Big Give McCook is successful because people are working together to make our community better. Big Give McCook is successful because people are making a difference on the local level. Big Give McCook is successful because we are stronger together rather than apart.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: