The United Way of Central Missouri is working to attain funds for their 2020 campaign. With the help of their donors, the organization hopes to support and collaborate with the 28 agencies they have partnered with to serve the local community in their most critical campaign yet.

According to Marketing and Events Director, Amber Brondel, their funding campaign for 2020 is their most important in years. While the community continues to deal with the aftermath of serious flooding, tornado damage, and most recently the coronavirus pandemic, the organization recognizes there are many less fortunate that are in need of tremendous assistance.     

“Our campaign is absolutely critical this year,” Brondel said. “It’s probably the most important campaign we’ve ever had. That is something we said last year because of the tornado and the flooding but we realized it’s certainly relevant that we say it again this year. We know that the pandemic has brought some unprecedented and challenging times but that’s what the United Way was created for. We were born out of anxious and uncertain times. What we are here to do is help people and we stand ready to do that.”

The United Way partners with 28 different agencies, each one picking up where the services of another might halt. The organization prides itself on the strong working dynamic each body has  as they work to uplift the community.

“What’s neat about our agencies and the United Way network is that we are all working together to address the full spectrum of needs in our community and they have been hard at work,” Brondel said. “The needs have only been amplified after the flooding and the tornado and then of course the pandemic. So many have been impacted in such a direct way.”

Recounting the efforts the Red Cross and the Salvation Army immediately carried out after the tornado, Brondel made sure to highlight the other organizations the United Way works closely with. Seeing those impacted by the tornado and then COVID, the Boys and Girls Club quickly opened their doors to families they were not already serving at no cost if they needed assistance.

Partnering with the Food Bank, the agencies also worked to create a mobile food pantry that was placed into areas that had been negatively impacted by the tornado. Through this they could help get food into those areas where people could have various transportation barriers. However, in wake of COVID-19, their efforts would continue as they created a new drive through model that would keep volunteers safe as well as those who were receiving food.

Brondel mentioned the Compass Health Network and their mission to address and help individuals with their mental and behavioral health. She went onto to express that those who have been impacted by the tornado and the pandemic may be dealing with trauma that the Compass Health Network is fully equipped to handle and even praised them for their work.

“They were absolutely critical when all of this was going on because there are those who might be experiencing trauma, anxiety, or stress. Of course, the tornado and COVID both brought on a little bit more of that and so we moved to give some immediate grants to Compass,” Brondel said. “They were able to get some of their therapists out in Miller County as well as Cole County and were to provide some therapy services to people who were suffering from anxiety or stress (stemming from the tornado) and then again with COVID.”

The United Way would continue their work with the Compass Health Network, creating another grant that would develop a 24-hour hotline to expand their hours and reach more people. With the various services offered by these agencies, the United Way of Central Missouri is making sure they will be able to resume their various work through their 2020 funding campaign. By donating to this campaign, the organization will be able to continue to support their partner agencies

“Our goal for the 2020 campaign is a $2.1 million goal. That is level with the goal that we had last year and that was very strategic,” Brondel said. “We of course have a financial obligation to our agencies and our funding is critical to keeping their doors open and keeping those services going. We wanted to be cognizant to our financial obligation to our agencies and partnerships but we also had be responsive to our challenges that the people in our community could be facing and so for that reason we do not want to increase the goal. We are urging people if they are able to give what they gave last year or maybe a little more and if that’s something they can do we appreciate that. Our campaign goal is to be successful so that we can continue to support our agencies. The work that they do is critical to supporting our community.”

The United Way of Central Missouri has chosen a Dr. Seuss theme for this year’s campaign. This was due to the sense of resilience and relevancy inside his work that the United Way has also seen throughout Central Missouri.

“It is so relevant to what we are doing,” Brondel explained. There are so many wise words that Dr. Seuss has written in all of his books and its really spoken to our community in a really neat way. One of the phrases we’re using the most in the words of Dr. Seuss is ‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. Its not.’”

Brondel believes this phrase will encourage people to work as a team and support one another so that we can help their neighbors and friends in times of need. She continued stating that if one would like to donate to the campaign they could do so through the organization’s website, www.unitedwaycemo.org, or through their official Facebook page.