Our view: The incredible work of United Way volunteers

Our View: The incredible work of United Way volunteers

December 6, 2020 | Lubbock Avalanche-Journal

First things first. While the Lubbock Area United Way’s announcement earlier this week showed the organization was short of its goal, the amount of money raised may be one of the best reflections ever of the community’s incredible generosity.

Despite persistent and unpredictable headwinds throughout the campaign, the local United Way still raised more than $5.3 million, according to a news release from the organization last Tuesday. That is worthy of celebration in and of itself, raising that kind of money during the better part of three months in a time that COVID-19 has dominated almost every aspect of life. We know people everywhere have been hit hard by the pandemic and its impact during the past nine months.

It has been and continues to be a difficult and uncertain time for many – one more reason to celebrate the work done thus far.

We congratulate Campaign Chair AJ Martinez on his outstanding leadership this year as well as his commitment to the community. Campaign chairs work tirelessly for most of a year coordinating the largest annual fundraising undertaking in the city. Martinez and literally hundreds of volunteers pulled together throughout what may have been one of the most challenging campaigns in the organization’s history that dates back almost 75 years.

They would also be the first to tell you their work is not yet done. The amount raised is impressive, but it represents just more than 93 percent of the anticipated goal for 2020. As a result, Martinez announced the campaign will continue with a final tally to be revealed at the organization’s Annual Meeting in January.

We wish to extend our thanks to everyone who has contributed to this year’s United Way campaign. As a result of the ongoing pandemic, the needs are greater and more widespread than ever before. Nonprofit organizations have found themselves challenged on two fronts. The virus has forced cancellation and postponement of numerous fundraising events while others have transitioned to a virtual format.

At the same time, many organizations, including a number beneath the United Way’s umbrella, have been stretched thin because of significantly increased demand for services. That has caused agencies well-versed in doing more with less to do even more with even less in some cases.

As a result, if you have not had a chance to contribute to this year’s campaign, it is not too late. Every contribution makes an impact, and every gift matters. Your generosity through the years has helped the local United Way’s community partners literally change the trajectory of Lubbock and the surrounding area.

“I want to recognize the faith and hope that went into every penny given so far and the hard work of all of our volunteers,” Martinez said during the organization’s recent virtual event announcing the total raised so far. “I also want to recognize the thousands of people who have given during these uncertain times. We are not through yet.”

Funds raised in the annual campaign help support 23 community partners. Many of these are familiar to the public: The Salvation Army, American Red Cross Serving the South Plains, Boys & Girls Clubs of Lubbock and YWCA of Lubbock. Others may not be as well known such as Upbring, Family Counseling Services and Communities in Schools on the South Plains.

But each of them is important, and each does vital work in the community, standing in the gaps and speaking up for people who may not be able to speak up for themselves. They are populated with staffs committed to making a difference, and just like so many others, they are working through this pandemic the best way they know how.

Donations given through the annual campaign go toward the work of United Way and those community partners who are dedicated to shining light in the darkness. Their calling includes helping people with needs such as affordable childcare, crisis situations, character development, adult literacy, job training and youth mentoring.

“We are committed to the work of our community partners and to our South Plains communities, and we’re going to keep working alongside you to reach the goal,” Martinez promised.

To support the campaign, call (806) 747-2711 or visit www.liveunitedlubbock.org for information.

The United Way’s mission is Giving People Hope. This year’s efforts affirm that important work, and we salute those – volunteers and donors alike – who have worked so hard delivering hope to those who need it most.