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United Way shares accomplishments of community helpers

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Article by: The Dominion Post

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are so many helpers — so many caring people in this world.” — Fred Rogers

Whether or not we know that quote, the idea of seeking the good news during hard times is one that seems to be getting many of us through quarantine.

Because when you think of the “times of disaster” Mister Rogers discusses, the novel coronavirus undoubtedly stands as one of the worst that modern society has faced. We are all trying to make it through in the best way we can.

But the “helpers” are more prevalent than we’ve witnessed in quite some time. They are living in our communities and in our cities, down the street or even right next door.

Those of us at the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties have seen a great many helpers in the past couple months. As a nonprofit working in our community during these troublesome and uncertain times, our staff meets these wonderful folks every day. And it’s our hope that, perhaps, people might also label us as the helpers, too.

Need some examples of helpers in our community? Here is just a small sampling:

-Mountaineer Food Bank was able to make a huge delivery of food to Preston County residents at the Craig Civic Center in Kingwood, giving hundreds of families meals to eat while still following good social distancing measures.

-When a mask shortage was announced, and we launched our local Masks 4 WV initiative, several groups, including the WVU School of Design and Interior Development and local business SustainU, immediately took up the cause, making masks in a variety of patterns and colors to donate to the effort. Those masks were donated to many organizations still working to serve people at this time.

-Mon Health Medical Center donated a plethora of latex gloves and hand sanitizer to us, so that we could distribute them to agencies and organizations that desperately needed supplies.

-Preston County Workshop drove to the southern part of the state recently to bring 16 crates of watermelons, 2,000 pounds of blueberries and 284 crates of broccoli, which was then given to Pantry Plus More, Feed Mon Kids and Food for Preston to feed hungry families.

-West Virginians came out in droves to support our Country Roads Statewide Food Drive by dropping off items or making donations. In fact, the drive raised $52,355 and garnered 48,000 pounds of food to feed families across the Mountain State.

-The United Ways of West Virginia recently started a campaign to bring positivity to social media using the #ThankfulWV hashtag. If you search it, you’ll probably get a good sampling of all the ways in which West Virginia’s helpers are lending a hand.

So even if you can’t leave the house, you can still spread positivity across social media by thanking our frontline workers with a sign, photo or video, and adding #ThankfulWV.

Please be a “helper” — in whatever way you can manage. Yes, we may be separated now, but being there for others will help us rise as a community. United.

If you are able to volunteer for one of our initiatives or would like more information about what is available, email our Engagement Manager Servando Arredondo at servando@unitedwaympc.org.

Amanda Posey is the director of communications and marketing for the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties. She can be reached at amanda@unitedwaympc.org.

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