The Mid-Plains United Way officially kicks off its 2020-21 campaign Thursday with a goal of $200,000.
Executive Director Alisha Forbes said the board has had many challenges this year with COVID-19.
“We are just trying to navigate this new normal,” Forbes said. “Now, more than ever, our partner agencies need our help so that way they can continue to provide their services.”
Forbes said fundraising has been going on behind the scenes, but on Thursday the campaign goes fully public with its “buy one, give one” drive-through feed from 4:30-7 p.m. at the Platte River Mall.
The drive-through on Thursday costs $10 for a plate of food and another $10 for the second plate to go to someone else. They will be delivered to the Connection Homeless Shelter, according to a press release last week.
“All the proceeds go to our partners,” Forbes said. “We are trying to reach businesses and individuals, whether they want to meet virtually or in person, because there are a lot of people in our community who need help.”
The organization, Forbes said, has received many phone calls and “people come up to us and say ‘thank you.’”
United Way has partnered with numerous organizations and individuals throughout the year to provide the funds people need during this pandemic.
“There are so many success stories,” Forbes said. “People say, ‘Thank you so much, I have a home now,’ and another person said, ‘You helped my aunt last month. Thank you for being so patient and kind.’”
Mid-Plains United Way funds 16 organizations whose missions vary from Bridge of Hope Child Advocacy Center to helping folks with their utilities and rent payments.
“For the past year, we’ve been working on a safe, affordable housing initiative,” Forbes said.
Forbes said she’s looked into the organization’s history. “Come to find out, we’ve been serving our community for 80 years.”
Forbes said the effort wasn’t always called United Way, but the first North Platte community campaign in which the funds went to multiple organizations took place in 1950.
“Those who started it just kept it going, and it morphed into Community Chest and then a United Fund,” Forbes said. “Now we’re Mid-Plains United Way, not only serving North Platte but 15 counties in west central Nebraska. It’s incredible to look back and see where we started.”
She said the campaign is about fundraising for the partner agencies, but also keeping the Mid-Plains United Way going.
“We decreased our fundraising goal because of the pandemic,” Forbes said. “It’s only $200,000, but I really hope our community comes together. We are actually further ahead this year than we were at the same time last year.”
“We hope to wrap up our campaign by Christmas,” Forbes said.
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