On September 15th, 2020,  United Way of Marshall County conducted its 23rd Annual Day of Caring event in a slightly different manner due to the pandemic. Traditionally, this event has involved hundreds of volunteers working on a variety of hands-on service projects at local nonprofit organizations. In an event unlike any planned in the past, the 23rd annual Drive-thru Day of Caring and Virtual Campaign Kick Off presented the opportunity for individuals and companies to instead adopt collection projects for partner agencies in Marshall County and the community responded by collecting a multitude of basic necessities and supplies for those in need.

There were 42 collection projects adopted and 52 companies and organizations that participated in the event. While 44 companies and organizations showed support for United Way’s Day of Caring by holding a Casual Day at their workplaces and purchasing STRONGER UNITED shirts and LIVE UNITED masks. Sponsors for this year’s event were Allstate Insurance – Miguel Corona Agency, First Bank Mortgage, Howard Bentley Buick GMC, Kappler, Peoples Independent Bank, Progress Rail, Publix, Total Dental Care and Wayne Farms.

Volunteers who adopted projects, dropped off their collections at the parking lot of the First Baptist Church in Albertville from 7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. where the event was held outside and participants were encouraged to follow health and safety requirements based on Alabama mandates and CDC guidelines. Nonprofits and volunteers were provided hand sanitizer and masks, donated by the Marshall County EMA.

“We felt it was important to continue the tradition of this event, particularly this year as many Marshall County nonprofits have been hit hard by increased expenses for personal protective equipment to deliver services safely, a decline in donations and an increase in demand for services,“ commented United Way Executive Director Carrie Thomas.

Day of Caring usually kicks off United Way’s annual campaign with a big rally, however, this year, the Campaign Kick Off was held virtually on the organization’s Facebook page. There were 10 pacesetter companies that conducted workplace campaigns early to jump start the annual campaign and set the standard for leadership and community support. These companies have pledged $140,472 towards the 2020-2021 campaign. “We have less companies that were able to serve as Pacesetter Companies this year, but we are encouraged by and grateful for what has been pledged thus far,” stated Thomas. These companies are BancorpSouth, BPI Media Group, Benefit Professionals, Citizens Bank & Trust, First Bank of Boaz, Paragon, Peoples Independent Bank, Propac Images, Snead State Community College and Shepherd’s Cove Hospice. Out of these, four companies achieved 100% employee participation: Benefit Professionals, Citizens Bank & Trust, First Bank of Boaz and Propac Images.

Now more than ever, support of the campaign is critical to help ensure the continuation of the vital services and programs provided by United Way’s partner agencies. If individuals in our community are in need of information or referral to services in times of crisis, please contact United Way’s 2-1-1/First Call for Help program. 2-1-1 is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week and First Call for Help is available by dialing (256) 582-0506 from 8:00 – 4:30 Monday – Friday.

Individuals and companies wanting to get involved in this year’s campaign may contact Carrie Thomas at carrie@unitedwaymarshall.org or call the United Way office at 256-582-4700. For more information about United Way or ways to get involved, please visit www.unitedwaymarshall.org.