Susan Huizinga has a specific reason for donating monthly to the Red Cross, World Vision, Covenant House, Shifra Homes and Neighbour to Neighbour Hamilton, Ont. as well as contributing in 2020 to the Burlington Food Bank, Yonge Street Mission, World Wildlife Fund, Salvation Army, a hospice and a women’s shelter. Her exceptional level of community support stems from a deep sense of duty.
“Donating is less about it being rewarding or fulfilling and more about being responsible members of society. It feels nice to help people, sure, but for me the biggest reason to donate is a moral responsibility and duty to help my fellow humans,” says Huizinga, a sales rep at Sutton Group Realty Systems in Mississauga, Ont. “I’m lucky. I was lucky to grow up in a solid middle-class family and have been privileged. I never had to worry about having a roof over my head, or food on my plate. I work hard, but there are many, many people working just as hard, or harder who are not doing as well. There are even more people who would like to work, but because of whatever external circumstance are underemployed, or unable to work in the field they trained to work in. There’s no question that we live in an inequitable society.”
Huizinga says she is aware of several families who are barely scraping by and have family members currently working in high-risk jobs such as food service that keep society running. “People with spare resources need to make up the difference when the government’s social programs are inadequate. Government programs to support lower-income and average-income families are woefully inadequate, especially now,” she says.
The Red Cross and the local food bank are two of her long-time causes. “I like the Red Cross because they provide emergency support both locally and globally. They also provide ongoing community support with their first aid training… Ongoing food donation is necessary and important, especially now with the huge impact COVID is having on vulnerable families. People in lower paid, part-time, temporary, or contract work get hit particularly hard by any change in the economic system. They don’t have job security, and generally have less disposable income or savings to fall back on in a crisis.”
Susan is also a frequent blood donor, despite the challenges. “I’ve only donated 15 or so times, but my husband is at 50+ donations. He’s the main reason I donate. His father was also a frequent donor. I never look forward to giving blood – it makes me woozy, but there is always such a shortage. It’s important for people to give if they can.”