Editor’s note: This is a weekly series focusing on the importance of buying local.
Residents providing their time or money to charity is important for many communities and counties.
In Washington County, this clearly rings true – especially as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on.
National Philanthropy Day is celebrated annually Nov. 15. This day signifies the importance of working together for the common good.
According to nationaltoday.com, philanthropic deeds come in all different shapes and sizes — charitable giving, volunteering, etc. — and on National Philanthropy Day, no act of kindness goes unnoticed. President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed Nov. 15 as National Philanthropy Day in 1986, and communities all throughout the world have celebrated the importance of this occasion ever since.
The suggested ways to observe or participate in National Philanthropy Days are to:
- Volunteer — Go out and find a volunteer opportunity that interests you. The possibilities range from visiting sick patients in the hospital, packing boxes for a food pantry and even gardening at your local park.
- Give a shout out on social media — Bring awareness to the day by talking about it on your social media accounts. The more people that know about this day, the better.
- Donate to charity — Donations can come in the form of time or money, so even if you’re a little strapped for cash, there are other ways to make a difference.
In Washington County, three of the entities who continue to serve the community through volunteerism and the generosity of donors are: Washington County Community Foundation, Washington City Mission and Greater Washington County Food Bank.
All three were negatively impacted by the pandemic but continue to work toward restoring its volunteerism to pre-pandemic levels. All three have continued to provide necessary services in the face of COVID-19 through some committed volunteers’ tireless efforts.
The following is a look at the three.
Betsie Trew, WCCF president and chief executive officer, said “in general, the community has really responded very generously.”
Trew said Eighty Four-based WCCF, started a disaster relief fund and the community raised $500,000.
In late September, it was announced WCCF issued $70,000 in grants from its Close to Home Disaster and Emergency Fund to the 14 public schools in Washington County to help support the education of financially needy students during the pandemic.
Washington City Mission
Brian Johansson, chief operating officer of the City Mission and Sheila Coquet, director of volunteer services, reported it took until about June for volunteers to feel comfortable to come back.
Coquet said people are also helping behind the scenes with clothes drives, hat and glove drives and other events.
Johansson said when the region went into a shut down in March, the City Mission had many issues to address.
He happily reports now that “our team of volunteers packed and distributed 4,000 food bags through a pop-up pantry.”
For more information on the City Mission, visit its website at www.citymission.org.
Greater Washington County Food Bank
Justin McAtee, marketing director of the National Pike-based Greater Washington County Food Bank, said the initial response from volunteers to the pandemic was outstanding and the volunteers worked hard to make sure those in need were fed and able to pick up food for their families.
McAtee said there are volunteers willing to do as much as possible remotely.
McAtee said the Food Bank is offering volunteers the ability to self-schedule signing up for days and times suitable to themselves.
For more information, visit www.gwcfb.org/volunteer.
Those interested in joining the Be Local Network can contact Chris Slota at 724-225-1326 or by email at email@example.com. Discount cards are available at the Observer-Reporter and Almanac office, 122 S. Main St., Washington.