OP-ED: Moving on from 2020

By Bonnie Zeller

2020 is a year I’ll never forget. We’ve faced challenges we never expected, overcome odds stacked against us, learned things we couldn’t have imagined, banded together on a scale we never thought possible.

We appreciate the Franklin County community LIVING UNITED through this overwhelming year, answering the call when we needed you the most.

Through it all, we have continued to improve lives and advance the common good–while ramping up our efforts to address a huge increase in need.

As Board Chair of United Way of Franklin County, I have seen our staff, our donors, our volunteers, and our entire community step up in an unprecedented way. With your help, we supported those devastated by the pandemic.

Together, we:

Raised more than $105k for the COVID-19 Crisis Response and Recovery Fund

Responded to the immediate unmet needs – such as food and housing – of 19 local nonprofit programs through the Crisis Fund

Reached thousands by launching a COVID-19 Resources Hub to provide information and resources

Continued paying monthly grant allocations to 26 Program Partners without wavering

Worked with 13 individuals on job training and goal setting through Stepping Forward Works

Collected school supply donations for all 5 school districts in Franklin County during an unprecedented school year

Donated over 5,000 pounds of food to 14 local food pantries for the Winter Food Drive

We all want to put this year behind us.

The unfortunate reality is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will change our world for years to come. Many of our neighbors find themselves in need more than ever before. The hardships have taken a toll on many.

The good news is we can start fresh. We must start today.

Join me, join all of us here in Franklin County, as we reimagine a future that is better than yesterday. A tomorrow full of hope, of possibility, of action. A tomorrow where everyone in Chambersburg, Waynesboro, Fannet-Metal, Mercersburg, Greencastle, Mont Alto, St. Thomas, and everywhere in between can have a safe home, a secure future, and a fresh start.

To reach that new tomorrow, we need every single one of us to act today. Help us get there by making a gift to United Way of Franklin County at www.uwfcpa.org.

Happy New Year to you and yours,

Bonnie Zehler is board chair for United Way of Franklin County.