United We Win

You can’t dine in but you can drive in to the 74th annual United Way campaign kickoff next week.

United Way of the Pennyrile will host its Drive Through the Decades Kick-off Breakfast from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Trail of Tears Park.

From their cars, guests can grab breakfast from either Chick-fil-A, Four Seasonings Catering or Hancock’s Neighborhood Market, while listening to a special message on the radio.

United Way Director Betsy Bond said each division of the campaign cabinet will represent a different decade and honor a past campaign chair.

“In 1973, Bill Munday was our campaign chair. Carolyn Self was 1976, Brett Cayce in 1977 — it’s the who’s who of Hoptown, so we wanted to honor everyone who has served,” she said. “(Each decade booth) will have some recognition to those who have served in the past.”

Bond, who was named director of the local United Way in June, said instead of having two campaign chairmen like past years, the board decided to have a team of chairmen due to the unprecedented year of COVID-19.

Campaign divisions include industrial, education, commercial, government, professional, residential, and the Latham Society, which is for leadership giving. Derrick and Amy Watson are the chairs for the society, Bond said.

Along with rethinking the breakfast, the campaign cabinet had to reorganize how it solicits donations for its 20 partner agencies.

Usually, the director and division chairs go to business offices to ask employees to donate a portion of their pay each month to United Way. Bond said a lot of businesses aren’t allowing large groups of employees to gather at one time, so even that had to change.

“For Jennie Stuart Health, we’re setting up a donation portal for their employees to donate online,” she noted.

Bond said an online donation portal can also be set up for other businesses, so they can track employee donations for payroll deductions.

Additionally, the general public can donate via the United Way website, pennyrileunitedway.com.

“We’re just trying to make it as easy as possible for people to donate,” she said, noting that this year’s theme is United We Win.

Although this year’s fundraising goal isn’t set in stone, Bond said they would love to reach at least $675,000, which is close to last year’s $700,000. Donations are then distributed to nonprofits in the community that have been accepted as partner agencies.

United Way of the Pennyrile has 20 partner agencies in Christian, Todd, Trigg and Caldwell counties.

“Our agencies are different and they all meet different needs,” Bond said. “The ones people are most familiar with are Aaron McNeil (House), Salvation Army, (Pennyroyal) Hospice.”

As far as how the pandemic has affected the nonprofits, Bond said everybody has made changes to match the needs of the community.

“It’s been really tough all around, but our partner agencies have really come through,” she said. “They’ve made adjustments and they are doing what needs to be done to help everybody.”

For example, Salvation Army was able to get funding and stay open during the day in order to keep the homeless sheltered from the virus as much as possible.

“At the Boys and Girls Club, they weren’t able to see the kids like they usually do, but they were able to take some of that funding and give them meals so the families could pick them up,” Bond said. “This gave them hope.”

Bond said not all of their agencies are considered charities. The Christian County Rescue Team helps people in car accidents and other disasters, and Imagination Library helps promote reading and teaching literacy.

“We’ve got some great partner agencies that the whole community can be proud of,” she said.

Wednesday’s breakfast is open to anyone who would like to drive-thru and get breakfast. There is no cost.

Along with donating online, donations can be made via text by texting GIVE2UWP to 313131. Anyone who would like to have a workplace campaign should email uwp@pennyrileunitedway.com.

The fundraising campaign finishes Nov. 15, but donations will still be accepted. A celebration dinner is planned for January.

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