YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – The United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley has been serving the Valley for over 100 years.
Now, COVID-19 is changing the way the organization helps others.
The United Way provides help in the form of food and education support to those in need.
“We have afterschool programming in 10 or 11 sites right now. We also do emergency funding for emergency services, and we also fund about 35 non-profit partner agencies,” said Roxann Sebest, spokesperson for the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.
Last year was a successful year for the organization.
“Last year was our centennial. We celebrated our 100th anniversary, so we came off of a record-breaking year. We knew we probably weren’t going to do that again,” Sebest said.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and the United Way had to change the way it helps. The organization now uses technology to make sure kids keep up in school.
“We work really closely with the school districts, so a lot of our afterschool programs are virtual as well. We do a ‘Success by Six’ program in the summer, which is prekindergarten readiness that was virtual,” Sebest said.
Instead of holding food pick-up services, the United Way now delivers food directly to those who need it most.
“Every third Saturday, we deliver to 300 households. We take the food to them, and they’re the ones that cannot get out,” Sebest said.
Although the United Way is coping with the effects of COVID-19, its success continues to depend on the generosity of the community.
“We still need donations to be able to do all this great work, and all the money we raise stays right here in the Mahoning Valley, so we’re helping our neighbors in need. It doesn’t go anywhere else,” Sebest said.
For more information on the organization, go to www.ymvunitedway.org.