United Way COVID-19 Updates

A Message from Katy Castagna

This time of the year, United Way Monterey County (UWMC) has a tradition of celebrating the generous work of community volunteers. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Shelter-in-Place order, our annual Live United Awards celebration had been postponed. Because of that, we are dedicating this week’s message to recognize those who help our community and support our work and mission.

In 2019, over 700 volunteers helped UWMC with programs and services such as VITA free tax preparation, Spring Spruce Up, Stuff the Bus school supply drive, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Read Across America, and Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. While most of these programs are temporarily on hold, we look forward to serving with dedicated volunteers at future events. 

VITA volunteers come back year after year to help with our free tax preparation service. In 2019, 124 VITA volunteers helped our community file their taxes and receive nearly $4.4 Million in refunds. This year, we had to close our in-person VITA sites early, but several of the VITA volunteers are still assisting via our virtual VITA service and processing the filings electronically. Watch our ‘Thank You’ video dedicated to the VITA volunteers.

Volunteerism has taken on a new role and community members are now engaging & giving in unique ways. UWMC has served as a volunteer recruitment hub for our partner organizations, such as Salvation Army of Salinas, Food Bank of Monterey County, and Meals on Wheels. Click here for additional information.

211 Monterey County, the information and referral service of UWMC, recruited volunteers and UWMC staff to assist with the increasing number of calls generated by the pandemic. 211 volunteers continue to update resources to help with calls requesting information about COVID-19, emergency shelter and rental assistance, food, healthcare, and utility assistance. 

We recently partnered with Harbhajan Dadwal, President of Dadwal Management Group and owner of local Subway Sandwiches Franchises, to deliver 350 sandwiches to the Coalition of Homeless Services Providers. The sandwiches were distributed to homeless encampments and their partnering agencies.

UWMC started the ‘Notes from Home’ initiative, encouraging volunteers to write notes to share with families who are receiving assistance from our partner, the Family Resource Center of the Salinas City Elementary School District. The Family Resource Center provides food, clothing, school supplies, and other necessities to many families experiencing financial stress and housing instability. 

If you have a community project that needs volunteer support or if you are looking to create a positive impact in your community, we want to hear from you.

We personally thank volunteers who are dedicated to United Way’s mission, vision, and commitment to servicing our community.

In safety and health, thank you for LIVING UNITED while apart.

With gratitude,

Katy Castagna
President and CEO

Previous Messages

Katy's Message- April 20, 2020

Katy's Message - March 27, 2020

Katy's Message - March 17, 2020


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United Way of California: A Summary of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities Act (CARES ACT)

March 27, 2020

United Way Worldwide: 6 Things to Know about the Just-Passed COVID-19 Relief Bill

March 25, 2020

United Way Worldwide: A Message from United Way Worldwide President & CEO, Brian Gallagher

March 23, 2020

United Way Worldwide: Leaders of Nation's Charitable Nonprofits Urge Congress to Go Further

March 16, 2020

United Way of California: California United Ways Announce Statewide Relief Fund to Support those Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic