CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Boxes of food for Thanksgiving will be going out to Upshur County families in need, as many as 700 of them, in the next week with help from money raised during Philanthropy West Virginia’s “Take 5 To Give 5” matching campaign.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, “In April and May, we realized that our traditional funders for this project may not be able to support us and, indeed, that has been true,” said Kristi Wilkerson, director of the Upshur Cooperative Parish House in Buckhannon.
“We have received some funding from our typical donors, but not what we would need in particular to buy the meat for these holiday baskets.”
That’s why Wilkerson said she and others with the Upshur Cooperative Parish House, a charitable organization serving more than 20 percent of Upshur County’s residents, were so grateful for Philanthropy West Virginia which moved quickly to respond to pandemic needs.
In May, more than $510,000 was raised for 22 total nonprofit organizations and relief funds working to address the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic in all 55 West Virginia counties as part of “Take 5 To Give 5.”
“West Virginians are resourceful, especially when people are in need, and so this has been a year that collaboration across nonprofits, business, the public and philanthropy has been critical,” said Paul Daugherty, president and CEO of Philanthropy West Virginia.
The fundraising effort, coordinated through Philanthropy West Virginia, started with $50,000 in seed money from Toyota.
“Many of these organizations have served in even greater capacities to help those in need than they did prior to the pandemic,” Srini Matam, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia.
“Demand for critical service that’s especially the frontline emergency services has never been higher and, yet, the budgets were immediately strained due to COVID and still continue to be.”
Joining Toyota in the effort were the Highmark Foundation, United Bank, West Virginia American Water, the Bernard McDonough Foundation, the West Virginia United Way Collaborative and other organizations.
“Take 5 To Give 5” was just one example of steps taken this year across West Virginia to support charitable organizations at a time when demand has climbed while donations have declined because of cancellations or suspensions of traditional fundraisers.
Overall, Daugherty said it has been a massive response.
“A number of companies and foundations began fast-tracking resources and funds in a variety of areas from food security to remote education to basic human needs for PPE (personal protective equipment), for health and human services support, small business support.”
Though “Take 5 To Give 5” has ended with most funds distributed, Daugherty said needs continued statewide.
He was encouraging West Virginians to donate to their local charitable organizations on the upcoming Giving Tuesday, scheduled for Dec. 1.