by SARAH THOMACK
St. Joseph Post
A campaign that kicked off last week isn’t asking for votes, but is asking residents to help support local organizations.
The United Way of Greater St. Joseph fundraising campaign runs until November 5th.
Campaign Director Renita Neville says because of COVID-19, some things are different this year, including not setting a fundraising goal.
"It was just impossible, with all of the unknowns, to set anything that we felt had any degree of accuracy, so our goal is to raise as much money as we can,” Neville says.
A majority of United Way's campaign each year involves fundraising through workplaces. Neville says with COVID-19 and a lot of people still working from home, many campaign presentations will look different or may be done by the workplaces internally.
Funds raised through the campaign each year help support the United Way's initiatives and partner agencies. Neville says funds also help with needs that arise throughout the year.
"Nobody anticipated 200 homes being displaced in the south side of St. Joe in late July, but because people give, we were able to stand up and take a leadership role in coordinating those efforts and continue to be a very integral part of those recovery efforts that will continue still for months," Neville says.
United Way Campaign Co-Chairs Pat and Terri Modlin are owners of Felix Street Gourmet and Room 108 in downtown St. Joseph.
Terri says, traditionally, being campaign chair includes in-person events and efforts, so they’re finding other ways to showcase the 17 partner agencies of United Way.
“A majority of these agencies, even though their business has changed a little with everything going on, they are still actively working with those who need specialized child care or need mental health services, it may be assistance with paying rent… there’s just so many of these services that we even need more than ever,” Modlin says. “Part of it is just getting the message out, telling our story and why we believe in it, encouraging others to also volunteer, share their story or their support of the organization and then really it’s about putting some money behind that as well.”
This year's United Way campaign theme is "Right here. Right now. You have the power to change the future."
"So the thought being that right here and right now, things are happening because people give," Neville says. "For instance, tonight, 28 women and 18 children will sleep at the YWCA, safe from abusers because people chose to give last fall."
For more information, or to donate, visit the United Way of Greater St. Joseph's website or call (816) 364-2381.