Christmas is a time when needs of others should take precedence.

Since the early 1950s, United Way of Wilkes has been a vehicle for doing this year-round by raising money for nonprofits that address basic needs of Wilkes residents and improve quality of life locally.

Over the years, economic downturns, loss of large employers, severe weather and unexpected costs have challenged Wilkes United Way’s ability to raise funds for these human service agencies.

The community has always stepped up to help Wilkes United Way overcome obstacles and raise funds that help make sure services of these agencies are available.

Public support of the 2020-21 United Way fundraising campaign, which began Nov. 1, is needed more than ever due to current unprecedented obstacles. Wilkes United Way has never faced a challenge as daunting as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of COVID-19 deaths of Wilkes residents reported this December are by far the most for a single month. COVID-19 cases have risen at a record pace locally.

January could be even worse, depending largely on many are vaccinated and how well we practice social distancing and wear masks over the Christmas holidays.

Meanwhile, the number of people needing help locally is up sharply due to job losses, business closings, hunger, homelessness and other crises. The accompanying emotional strain is reflected in spikes in domestic abuse, drug abuse and suicides

So, the need for Wilkes Countians to step up and give to United Way of Wilkes has never been greater.

United Way of Wilkes, through its partner agencies, served over 33,000 Wilkes citizens in 2019. Even more were served this year and another increase in 2021 is anticipated, largely due to the pandemic.

United Way of Wilkes raises funds for the following local partner agencies: American Red Cross, Blue Ridge Opportunity Commission (BROC), CareNet Counseling, Catherine H. Barber Homeless Shelter, CAPT/Our House, Appalachian Senior Programs/Foster Grandparent, Mountain Valley Hospice, Appalachian Senior Companion Program , Ruby Pardue Blackburn Adult Daycare, Samaritan’s Kitchen, ADAP (Adult Developmental Activity Program), Wilkes Circles of Care, Wilkes Developmental Day School, Wilkes Literacy, Wilkes Prison Ministry, Wilkes Family YMCA, Wilkes Recovery Revolution and Wilkes Senior Resources.

Donations to United Way can be made online at www.UWWILKES.org, by texting UWWILKES to 44321 and by postal mail at 910 C Street, North Wilkesboro, N.C.,28659. Donations are accepted year-round.

For more details about United Way of Wilkes or any of its partner agencies, go to www.UWWILKES.org.

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