United Way’s annual fundraising campaign is just weeks away from concluding and a significant funding gap has been identified due to the inability to conduct normal fundraising activities or events.
“I have seen our staff, our donors, our volunteers, and our entire community step up in an unprecedented way during the pandemic, but our most recent estimates are that over $45,000 will not be available for critical programs our agencies implement,” United Way of Cullman County Executive Director Becky Goff said in a press release.
Each year, United Way invests community donations in 19 local agencies and programs. These cornerstone programs provide the Cullman community with critical support in the areas of health, education and financial stability.
United Way funded programs — such as indigent care for terminally ill patients, health care for uninsured patients, after school and summer enrichment programs for children, services to homebound seniors or individuals with disabilities and organizations dealing with food insecurity — are at risk to see a reduction in support from United Way of Cullman County.
“2020 was a year we will never forget. We had to ramp up our efforts to help our agencies that were stretched thin and we conducted many of our campaigns virtually,” Goff said.
Employee giving and matching funds donated by the companies where they work typically fuel most of the United Way’s fundraising.
The decrease is not from the lack of support for United Way’s mission, but from the impact of COVID-19 such as employees working remotely, corporate partners that have had furloughs or reductions and employees who are spread very thin, and that may be struggling with their own fatigue or morale.
“We need the community's help. We are asking everyone to show support for our community and consider donating to United Way, a gift of any amount will make a difference in someone’s life,” Goff said. “Because of the pandemic, our community needs the United Way more than ever. In Cullman we are still facing food shortages and agencies that were working on shoestring budgets to begin with, continue to be stretched thin.”
To support the United Way and its community programs, you can mail a check to PO Box 116, Cullman, AL 35056, drop off a donation at the United Way offices located in the historic Cullman Train Depot at 300 1st Ave NE or donate by credit card at uwaycc.org. Donations are tax deductible.