Now, more than ever, is the time to continue the generous spirit of giving in Monterey County. This spirit helps define our County as one that cares seemingly beyond its capacity given its population size. Our County is one where those in need - families, children, adults, domestic animals, wildlife, and marine habitat - benefit from the generous donations from individuals, corporations, and groups to non-profits throughout the County.
Now, the needs are even greater. Over the last several months, local agencies have provided record food distributions, emergency housing requests spiked, businesses shuttered were forced to lay off or furlough employees at unprecedented levels, student learning at all levels was diminished or stopped, shelter in place reduced all but emergency health care procedures delaying important care, the list goes on. Stark evidence of this need is illustrated in the call volumes for 211 – the comprehensive service referral network: from March through May, calls to 211 in Monterey County rose 240% percent, from an average monthly total of 765 prior to the Covid-19 crisis to 1,929. Each one of those calls is a plea for help, with multiple agencies and non-profits involved, in sourcing a solution or next step.
Now, as the economy begins to slowly reopen, these needs show little reduction. Individuals and families with fragile financial stability prior to the crisis will not snap back or rise above these challenges anytime soon. Resources are even more critical to provide service, particularly over this next year when federal stimulus support is gone, and state and local governments enact drastic cuts just to maintain basic public safety and maintenance programs.
Now is the time to continue your giving. To donate, volunteer, match, subscribe, pledge, bequeath in whatever manner to support the non-profit or philanthropic organizations you feel are important. Some may say now is exactly the time to give more, as the needs are clearly greater. This may be true, but we all know businesses and individuals have suffered a significant decline in revenue and assets, so giving more may be too much to ask of some. Whether you can stretch more, maintain past levels, or share what you can, giving is what is needed now to maintain the critical services non-profits provide our community. While our economy and democracy are being tested during this crisis, our spirit of giving should not - it may be the one unifying action that gets us through these challenging times.
Board Chair, United Way Monterey County