UNITED WAY COLUMN: Continuing to Live United

The year 2020 has been an incredibly difficult challenge for us all. In some ways, this co-suffering we’ve lived through together has compelled us to Live United — united in efforts against COVID-19, united in the midst of a decimated economy and united in renewed efforts to understand one another on a deeper level.

Salem Taylor

Your local United Way has not been exempt from these challenges, but thanks to you, we have been able to rise to the challenge in impactful ways. Despite changing office space, working remotely, economic challenges for our donors and the loss of annual events that support us, we have been able to help our community respond to every punch 2020 has thrown.

Thanks to you, we have:

• provided 211 for information regarding COVID-19;

• collected and shared information about food/health resources;

• given away $5,000 in COVID-19 relief funds to help with food, counseling and childcare;

• given away over 13,000 life-saving face masks to schools, churches, nonprofits and at-risk individuals;

• helped organize a unity prayer and helped facilitate community conversations regarding systemic racial injustice;

• given 54 families a place to live;

• provided 335 uninsured adults with chronic health issues live-saving medication and medical care;

• kept 178 seniors living in their homes;

• given 54 students a safe place to be after school;

• helped 140 women and children find safety from domestic violence;

• provided online forums for non-profit agencies to learn about volunteer engagement during COVID-19.

We have also recently partnered with Atrium Health and Stanly County Schools to provide 12,000 school supply items for the students of Stanly County. Even in the midst of a pandemic, we doubled the amount of school supplies from the 2019 drive.

Friends, that is what it means to live united, even in difficult days.

And we’re not done yet.

We have had a Virtual Campaign Kickoff featuring your United Way Board of Directors and our partner agencies. Be on the lookout for virtual tours of our 15 partner programs so that you can get an up-close and personal view of the good work that is being done in our community.

Finally, as we move into the fall and a new year, we hope to both continue to facilitate important conversations in our community regarding racial equity and expand our impact for our local students.

It has indeed been a difficult year, but it’s been a year that has reminded us of the incredible importance of always seeking to Live United.

Salem Taylor is the executive director of United Way of Stanly County.