Written by: Claudia Chow, Digital Marketing Manager, UWSD
United Way of San Diego County (UWSD) continues to observe our Centennial Celebration by highlighting each decade with this month’s salute to the 1970s, a time full of innovation and incubation.
In 1973, we adopted the name United Way of San Diego County in keeping with national trends. During the 70s, UWSD flourished thanks to growing relationships with local companies and their workplace campaigns. We joined forces with 11 local affiliates to create the Combined Health Agencies Drive (CHAD). Then in 1975, UWSD helped create The San Diego Foundation. The following year, we helped launch the San Diego Community Leadership Development Program, a predecessor of LEAD San Diego. United Way also created a volunteer bureau to help people get involved in community service. Last but not least, during this era, Guideline was created, a countywide information and referral service that later became 2-1-1.
This year, in conjunction with the Centennial anniversary, UWSD expanded our Day of Action work to a month-long campaign to bring awareness of food insecurity as well as support vulnerable senior citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each June, United Ways across the globe participate in Day of Action, a day to address and tackle a variety of challenges that communities face. It is a day that United Ways ask their community members to help put the mission into action by volunteering to improve the building blocks for a good quality of life – education and family stability.
In addition to bringing attention to National Hunger Awareness Month, UWSD team members and partners from the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council honored the staff of Unions United with a surprise no-contact parade that doubled as a food drive. To help support the mission of the food pantry, we hosted a month-long virtual food drive to help restock the pantry! The staff members in the emergency on-site food pantry have provided over two decades of commitment and support to those vulnerable in our community. They have been working hard everyday face to face with clients throughout this pandemic.
Not only did we celebrate the Unions United team, but that weekend UWSD staff and volunteers joined the San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council for a food distribution at SDCCU Stadium, providing over 640 individuals and families with produce and canned goods during these unprecedented times.
Now, more than ever, seniors need to remain safely in their homes. Many seniors are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 and cannot venture out to find basic hygiene and personal care items. This year with the expanded Day of Action, UWSD collaborated with ElderHelp, a local nonprofit whose mission is to help seniors remain independent and live with dignity in their own homes, to assemble personal care kits. Volunteers were given supplies to take home, assemble, and instructed to return the completed kits to ElderHelp’s building. All coordination efforts, including picking up and dropping off the kits, were a no-contact transaction. Our eight volunteers put in 25 hours of service to supply ElderHelp with 300 kits for their seniors!
During these challenging times, United Way, with the help of individuals like you, can continue our impactful work as we have for the past 100 years for those in need in our community.
To learn about the Centennial Celebration, visit uwsd.org/centennial.