by Mike Rubino, Executive Director of the United Way of Beaver County
- 36% of Beaver County residents struggle to achieve ‘basic cost of living.’
- More than 100,000 meals were distributed to children through YMCA and Salvation Army.
- More than 70 charities receive United Way dollars to further their missions.
- Local nonprofits have extra overhead expenses due to pandemic-related issues.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
The history of Beaver County should never be told without including the nonprofit charities that have taken care of those less fortunate in our area for more than a century.
The Salvation Army (1885), YMCA (1889), Blind Association (1947), Cancer — Heart Association and Mental Health Association (1955) and United Way of Beaver County (1960) are just a few that have worked tirelessly to help those in need regardless of race, creed, color or persuasion.
The list of charities can go on forever. There are more than 70 charities this year alone that are receiving United Way dollars to further their missions. Every one of these groups fills a niche to support the 36% of Beaver County residents that struggle to achieve the “basic cost of living.”
When the pandemic hit in March, the percentage grew overnight. Schools closed and kids needed to be fed. The YMCA and the Salvation Army kicked into gear. Thousands of meals were distributed each and every week. The meal deliveries continued over the summer with well over 100,000 meals given away. The United Way, many local businesses and citizens helped immensely with donations to cover the cost.
It is important to note that while food security is vital, so are all of the other services that were needed before the pandemic — and are needed now — and will continue to be needed once there is a vaccine that hopefully restores normalcy to our lives.
We must not forget the everyday frontline heroes such as the employees at Homemaker Home-Health that allows more than 800 of our neighbors to remain in their homes instead of institutions and Big Brothers Big Sisters that help mentor more than 300 teens and pre-teens. Let’s remember the Women’s Center that protects so many women and children on a daily basis. Also, the Blind Association that assists the visually impaired to get through the day. These groups and many others have lost themselves in service.
As director of the United Way of Beaver County, I am honored to tell their stories and those of countless other charities that provide critical assistance to our neighbors. We are blessed to be associated with these everyday frontline essential workers. Workers who continue to be overworked, underpaid and often overlooked.
These neighbors helping neighbors and the organizations where they work need your help. They are the foundation of love and security for Beaver County and its residents. Every one of these charities has had to cancel fundraising events. Every one of these nonprofits has extra overhead expenses for pandemic-related issues and some of these charities may not make it to the other side of this ordeal without your help.
On behalf of the nonprofit community in Beaver County, I want to say thank you for your time, treasures and talents for so many years. Thank you for stepping up and doing what you could these past six months. Now, I must ask you to dig a little deeper and help a local charity in any way possible. If not dollars, then time. If not time, then talent. And always, prayers.
Allow me to conclude with another quote from Mahatma Gandhi: “You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.”
May God bless Beaver County!