Editorial: As United Way kicks off annual campaign, please consider donating if you are able

The United Way of Northwest Georgia's 2020 annual campaign kicked off Tuesday night, but with a different format than previous years.

Due to social distancing requirements brought about by the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the annual Campaign Kickoff and CEO Trike Race was canceled and replaced by a virtual kickoff event.

The community certainly missed the excitement of the CEO Trike Race -- where executives trade their dress shoes for tennis shoes and race the streets of downtown Dalton to see who the fastest professionals are in town -- in addition to the camaraderie that good food, good music and good people offer. It's a festive occasion as the United Way Campaign Cabinet unveils its campaign goal.

But understandably, such an event could not be held this time around.

On Tuesday night, campaign co-chairs Chuck and Jody McClurg took to Facebook to kick off the campaign through a video message. The husband and wife duo, along with their campaign board, will help lead the organization through one of the more challenging campaigns in recent memory.

"We know the campaign will look different this year due to the impact the virus has had on our local economy," Chuck McClurg said in this past weekend's Daily Citizen-News. "However, the needs within our community have never been greater. United Way's 23 community partners need the full support from the citizens of Whitfield and Murray counties. Given the uncertain environment, it makes the success of the overall United Way campaign that much more important."

Last year, the local United Way made a huge impact on the community by assisting more than 57,000 people with their education, basic needs and health. The COVID-19 pandemic has strained many local residents' resources, and the United Way has responded by investing more than $80,000 in additional resources beyond what the organization originally budgeted, through the group's COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. You can read more about how the United Way has bettered our community by checking out a special four-page section in this past weekend's newspaper.

As people turn to the United Way in times of need, the United Way similarly needs you help. The organization depends on donations from community members to help our friends and neighbors.

You can contribute by:

• Donating online at ourunitedway.org.

• Payroll deduction through your employer.

• Or by emailing Amy Ross at amy.ross@ourunited way.org or call (706) 876-2552.

We understand times are tough. If you are able, please consider donating to the United Way's 2020 campaign.

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