SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The United Way of the Coastal Empire Annual Campaign Kick-Off traditionally launches with a large celebratory luncheon at the Savannah Civic Center. This year, to avoid a large gathering, the campaign began with a broadcast announcement on WTOC.
The United Way of the Coastal Empire raises money and awareness to support nonprofit agency partners and to deliver direct services where needed. Since March, their efforts have helped people with critical needs.
“We have all faced great uncertainty and great challenges over these last months, this organization included, but we recognize that it’s our responsibility. It’s what we signed up for, it’s what this organization was created to do,” UWCE President/CEO Brynn Grant said.
The 2020 Campaign Chair, Terry Enoch has worked with the United Way for 15 years. He says this year’s kick-off is unlike any other in their 82 year history.
“This is a moment in history when all of us need to be working united, so that we can pull through this,” Enoch said.
Grant says there were people in trouble prior to the pandemic, but the numbers are far greater now. In fact, Grant says 90 percent of people who are calling for assistance have never called before.
“So many people who had had jobs and who were working hard trying to make ends meet and then to no fault of their own have seen a loss,” Grant said.
The campaign, Enoch says, creates the resources for people so they have a place to go, locally, for help.
“This campaign is preparing our communities to take care of our own,” Enoch said. Of all of the events cancelled because of COVID-19, Grant says because of the need it was vital that they didn’t push the kick-off to a later date.
“We were limited in how much we could help with our COVID rapid response fund and now with CARES dollars we can actually pay past due rent, past due mortgages since March,” Grant said.
Enoch says he’s excited to be the campaign chair this year and reminds people that what we do now will help in our recovery from the pandemic.
“I brought my United Way campaign work hat! It’s time for us to get to work and make some great things happen,” Enoch said.
This year’s color is sky blue and was picked by Enoch to remind people of an important message.
“The blue skies that are always there even when you can’t see them. Even when the skies seem darkest, the blue skies are there,” Grant said.
The campaign will run until Nov. 19. The fundraising goal for 2020 is $8 million.
Click here to find out how you can help.