• September 19, 2020

TEXAS VIEW: Pandemic makes support of local United Way more important - Odessa American: Texas Opinion

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TEXAS VIEW: Pandemic makes support of local United Way more important

THE POINT: We encourage everyone to consider supporting United Way’s community efforts.

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Posted: Wednesday, September 16, 2020 2:30 am

The ongoing pandemic has had a pronounced impact on virtually every corner of life since March. One segment of the community to feel the effects has been local nonprofit organizations.

On one hand, they’ve been unable to conduct traditional fundraising events and other campaigns designed to raise awareness about their important causes as a result of restrictions on the size of gatherings. On the other hand, a number of these vital organizations have experienced a dramatic uptick in the need for their services because of job loss and other factors.

They’ve been caught in the middle for months, doing their best to serve the community and continue to make a difference despite circumstances beyond their control.

In that spirit, one of the highest-profile nonprofits in the Panhandle, the United Way of Amarillo and Canyon, kicked off its 2020 campaign last week, recognizing the communitywide economic strain brought about by the coronavirus while pointing to the gaps filled by its 23 partner agencies.

While the havoc brought about by the virus outbreak has been significant, so also now is the need for people to once again step up and look out for their neighbors. Many times through the years people have responded with even greater generosity because it is likely they know someone firsthand whose life has been disrupted.

“We know that the need in our community is greater because of COVID,” Leslie Massey, this year’s campaign co-chair, said in our story.

The kickoff event, held at Hodgetown, revealed this year’s campaign goal is $4 million, representing an increase over the $3.8 million raised in 2019. Through the years, the local United Way and the agencies under its umbrella have made a significant difference in the community, impacting quality-of-life issues one person at a time by working to address local matters such as education, income, health, basic needs and poverty prevention.

Among partner organizations with boots on the ground in the community day after day are the Veterans Resource Center through Family Support Services of Amarillo, the Salvation Army and the Padres Colaboradores Leadership Program through the Amarillo Independent School District.

“This year, it’s more important than ever because we have had so many people impacted by COVID, whether it’s job losses or losing their business or medical costs,” Jim Bryan, United Way of Amarillo and Canyon board chairman, said in our story. “This is even more (of a) critical year, that we be able to reach out to people and raise funds and get those funds back into the community.”

The local United Way is uniquely positioned to provide help and hope to those who need it most in the community. It has a long and successful track record of taking on difficult challenges and providing solutions that offer a helping hand to vulnerable and marginalized individuals.

We have deep respect and appreciation for the year-round work of the local United Way and we thank all of those who support the organization and its partners with their time, talent and treasure. Likewise, we encourage everyone to look at the United Way’s sizable community impact and consider supporting those efforts financially.

Odessa, TX

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