With Hurricane Matthew in our rearview mirror, it’s easy to think life is getting back to “normal.” The reality is, the need in our community is greater than ever before and those who have never needed assistance in the past are now finding themselves in situations they in no way imagined.
My wife, Becky, and I have been involved with United Way of the Lowcountry for years and have served in many capacities with the organization because we believe in the mission. After the hurricane, we volunteered in the HELPLINE call center, helping answer the calls of our neighbors on the other end. In the weeks right after the hurricane, calls to the HELPLINE went up 1,000 percent.
We heard some of the struggles our neighbors are facing first hand and feel more inspired than ever to help raise the funds needed to meet United Way of the Lowcountry’s $2.5 million campaign goal, which funds 48 programs and 34 partner agencies. That amount was set long before the hurricane and doesn’t account for the rising needs in our community.
After the hurricane hit, United Way of the Lowcountry made a conscious decision to temporarily suspend the fundraising campaign to focus on recovery efforts and help our neighbors.
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In the midst of it all, our board of directors recognized the increased needs in the community and the strain it was putting on partner agencies that provide emergency assistance. It unanimously voted to distribute $100,000 from an endowment fund to front-line partner agencies to help funnel more immediate resources to those in need.
Hurricane Matthew created the perfect storm, you could say, and now as we try to get back to “normal,” it’s certainly not business as usual.
You probably noticed the United Way thermometer signs you are used to seeing this time of year are just now going up throughout our community and the meter certainly isn’t as high as in the past.
While the campaign suspended, the need certainly didn’t and it is going to take all of us working together to help raise the funds needed in our community.
As the chairman of this year’s campaign, I would like to ask you to please consider giving to United Way of the Lowcountry this year. It truly is more important than ever and your gift will not only help with immediate needs, but will make a lasting impact for years to come. Thank you for your support.
Charles T. Francis