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OPINION

United Way of Story County: Kicking off 2020 campaign with the Power of Community

Allie Prusa, United Way of Story County
Guest contributor

At this time last year, everything was different. The way we interacted, the way we gathered as a community, and how we were able to give back has all been shifted to a new paradigm. This time last year, we were getting ready to bring over 300 people together to celebrate the beginning of our campaign and provide a day of volunteering with over 40 organizations participating. Now, as we pivot to provide these opportunities in a different way, we see the true Power of Community.

United Way of Story County (UWSC) will be kicking off our campaign on Sept. 11, a powerful day of remembrance in our nation. As we begin another year of rallying together for the greater good, we hope to bring a sense community to juxtapose with the current state of distance we are living in.

The Power of Community is the theme of our 2020 campaign. Before the pandemic tore through our county earlier this year, we chose this theme to represent the power that we see each and every year, of people coming together to achieve something greater than what they could do alone. When COVID-19 hit, our theme brought on a new meaning. Yes, we can still come together to benefit the greater good, but with most events happening virtually, businesses being closed, and capacities being limited, we needed to adapt to a new normal.

The Power of Community has been displayed throughout Story County since the first case hit in March. Our office was flooded with calls on how to help, where to donate, and what volunteer options were available to make life easier for those most vulnerable.

All of a sudden, “community” didn’t mean 300 people together in one room. Community meant businesses offering free public Wi-Fi to students who didn’t have access at their home. Community meant schools and organizations coming together to provide bagged meals and books to children who needed them. Community meant thousands of pounds of donated food being distributed to local pantries, and then delivered to families when they couldn’t leave their homes. Community began to mean so much more than it did in January.

Now, as we embark on the 2020 campaign, we hope you feel The Power of Community stronger than ever. UWSC will be unveiling some bold goals in our focus areas of health, education, and financial stability, during our kickoff program on Sept. 11. We know we have the support and strength of our partners, our donors, and our supporters to fulfill these goals and more over the next five years, so that we can live, work, and play in a stronger community in the future.

United Way is often known as a community convener. We are good at bringing people together to create solutions. This year is no different. Whether you are young or old, a volunteer or a donor, a supportive bystander or an active participant in our work, know that together, you are a part of something much bigger than yourself.

United Way of Story County builds countywide partnerships to identify needs and to develop, support and evaluate effective human services, especially in the areas of health, education and financial stability.