Editor's note: This column will not appear in print.
Unfortunately, we are experiencing something that I believe none of us ever believed we would experience in our lifetimes, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. If there was ever a time for us to come together as a community, this is it.
I want you to know that your United Way of Southern West Virginia is working diligently to do all they can to assist those in need during this crisis. All the United Ways throughout West Virginia are on a daily call to try to work together to meet the needs of those in our communities.
United Way of Southern West Virginia is doing their best to stay connected to the communities they serve to do all they can to facilitate the connection of people in need with resources available from their agency partners or other resources in the communities.
When the restaurants were closed for in-house dining and were directed to use just carryout and drive-through means to serve their customers, Richard Jarrell of Chick-Fil-A contacted United Way Executive Director Megan Legursky to suggest that some restaurants may have surplus perishable foods they could donate to agency partners to help meet the feeding needs in our communities. Megan and her staff reached out to local restaurants in our service area that might have surplus food to donate to help facilitate getting their agency partners that feed our communities connected with those restaurants. If you know of a restaurant that might have surplus food that could be put to good use throughout our seven-county service area and Bluefield, Virginia, please direct message United Way on Facebook or call their office 304-253-2111 to let them know and they can be the conduit to connect those partner agencies in need with the restaurants that might be able to help.
Another way to support the United Way of Southern West Virginia to enable them to help our agency partners during this time of need is to designate a percentage of your purchases at Amazon or Kroger to the United Way of Southern West Virginia. If you use Amazon, you can go to smile.amazon.com and designate United Way of Southern West Virginia as your charity of choice and Kroger Community Rewards will also allow you to designate United Way of Southern West Virginia as your charity of choice. This costs you nothing, merely designates a percentage of what you are already spending at either Amazon or Kroger to be sent to United Way of Southern West Virginia to help support their agency partners.
You may recall, my column last week talked about DENIM FOR A DIFFERENCE, where, during the week of March 30 through April 3, businesses, schools, and other organizations allow their employees to wear denim to work in support of our United Way. A $5 donation allows a person to wear jeans for one day, a $10 donation gives you three days of comfort, and for just $15 you can wear jeans to work all week long! United Way of Southern West Virginia would encourage all who planned to participate in this, even if you are now working at home, to now consider this as COMFY CLOTHES FOR A WEEK and support this initiative that provides support to so many in our community.
This is time for us all to think about our friends and neighbors who may need our help. Please check on our older community members who are most at risk who may need someone to pick up groceries, prescriptions, or other items to allow them to stay safe in their homes. Let’s all be good citizens and thoughtful neighbors during this trying time.
United Way of Southern West Virginia is utilizing Facebook to stay connected to the community and share any relevant information, so please follow United Way of Southern West Virginia, Inc. on Facebook.
Remember, it is never too late to be a hand raiser and a game changer by supporting the United Way in any way you can. You can pledge conveniently and securely online at www.unitedwayswv.org or by calling 304-253-2111 to speak with a United Way representative. You may also mail your contribution to United Way of Southern West Virginia, PO Box 5456, Beckley, WV 25801.
— Nancy Kissinger is this year’s United Way Campaign chair.