Local Charities need extra help during the times of COVID-19

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COLUMBUS, MISS. (WCBI) – As communities continue to try and adjust to the economic effects of the pandemic, local charities and non-profits face their own unique set of challenges.

The need for their services has only grown but the people who help families in need now must find new and safer ways to raise the funds so many rely on.

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“If you live in Lowndes County and you were one of the people who was blessed to keep their job and COVID did not take away your job, your donations are needed now more than ever,” said Renee Sanders, Executive Director of the United Way of Lowndes County.

Doing more with less. That is the challenge non-profits like United Way of Lowndes and Noxubee face as the pandemic drags on. With so many losing their jobs because of the coronavirus…Executive Director Renee Sanders the ranks of those in need has only grown.

“Some of the people that were givers and supporters last year, they’re now on the receiving end of that,” said Sanders.  “They don’t have that job that they had last year.”

On top of that, with health and safety restrictions standing in the way of their workplace campaign, United Way has had to find new ways to generate support.

“Be a little bit more strategic about your plans and how to execute the giving,” said Sanders. “So, more electronic giving, more use of social media.”

This year, United Way moved their kick-off event for donors and agencies to meet online as well and raised money through a silent auction.

“It was phenomenal. I thought it really worked out well but we didn’t get that interaction, we didn’t get to see that one-on-one, so it didn’t pull in as much as we would’ve liked to,” said Sanders.

The Lowndes County Sherriff’s Department is also adapting. Last year, their annual haunted house raised about $15,000 that went towards bikes for over 300 kids.

“The pandemic is stopping a lot of things but we decided not to disappoint our kids in Lowndes County and still have something for them,” said Deputy Rhonda Sanders of the Lowndes County Sheriffs Department.

Since the haunted house is not an option during the pandemic, the benefit committee and sheriff’s department decided on a virtual costume contest.

“The committee will get together on Halloween Day at 2 o’clock and we will look at all the participants in the contest,” said Deputy Sanders.

Their goal is to raise $10,000 for Community Benefit through the contest and a drawing for a 50-inch HD tv and Nintendo Switch.

These are extra steps that could make all the difference for those in need.

“That’s OK. You’re worth my donation. You’re worth me working harder,” said Sanders.

Renee Sanders with United Way says she expects the number of people in need of help will double by next year. To find out more about contributing to United Way or the Lowndes County Sherriff’s Department’s costume contest, you can visit our website, WCBI.com