by Alex Moore, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications, United Way of the Piedmont
In this new world of COVID-19, we are all seeing a lot of good deeds and outpouring of support. Much of the world is doing their best to make lemonade out of these pandemic-flavored lemons. From personal gift baskets and collections for frontline healthcare workers, nonprofits who need our help “now more than ever,” individuals sewing masks and donating goods, there’s a lot of good happening. However, there’s still so much need right now it can be hard to know where or how to do some good.
For United Way of the Piedmont’s part, we’ve focused on doing what we do best: convening partners, informing the community, and finding solutions to problems as they arise. United Way of the Piedmont (UWP) covers Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union Counties, and we have been holding weekly check-in calls for each county to assess needs and resources. We have also been providing direct service through our Community Resource Coordinators who serve as our boots on the ground, connecting families to resources and providing financial assistance.
This financial assistance comes directly from UWP’s United for All Fund, which is a disaster relief fund that has been activated in response to COVID-19. The fund directly supports individuals and families in Spartanburg, Cherokee, and Union counties through the Community Resource Coordinator program. Funds are primarily used to support families who have lost wages due to COVID-19 with expenses like rent/mortgage, utilities, and food.
Since beginning this work in mid-March, UWP Community Resource Coordinators have assisted more than 125 households with assistance related to COVID-19. Of these families, 52% have never received assistance before. Currently, we are averaging two calls for assistance per hour which represents a steady increase over the past several weeks. We anticipate the need will continue to grow and we will continue to see the economic effects of COVID-19 on families in new and unique ways.
However, we are not alone in this work. While United Way is a global brand, there are 25 United Ways that operate at a local level across the state. Each United Way is responding differently according to the capacity of their organization and the needs of their community. Below is a list of the United Ways in the Upstate with links to their websites:
- United Way of Anderson County
- United Way of Greenville County
- United Way of Greenwood & Abbeville Counties
- United Way of Laurens County
- United Way of Oconee County
- United Way of Pickens County
- United Way of the Piedmont
Not every community has a United Way or even a large number of nonprofits, but they still have people who need help. To address needs at a statewide level, the One SC Fund has been activated in response to COVID-19. The One SC Fund: COVID-19 Response is a partnership between SC Grantmakers Network, Together SC, and the United Way Association of SC. The funds will be held at Central Carolina Community Foundation. The funds deployed will enhance the efforts already underway in several counties and regions across South Carolina and will be used to address gaps in the response efforts, including support for communities that lack resources or an organized philanthropic response. The One SC Fund also provides an easy way to donate for companies or individuals who wish to make a statewide impact due to having multiple facilities in multiple locations.
Whatever your passion or desired impact, there’s an organization or fund out there to help you make that impact. And for our part at United Way of the Piedmont, we consider it our job, but really our privilege, to help you connect to those organizations.