The Health of the United Way Is Vital To Public Health

Every day of the year, Betsy Burkeen and her staff work to support the many non-profit organizations in the Paducah/McCracken County community in their time of need. In March, the local United Way found itself in a role reversal—faced with the uncertainty of the future of donors and contributions.        

 “A significant part of our financial support comes from payroll deductions at companies all around our community,” Betsy explained. “Now that most of these businesses are either closed or operating at a greatly reduced capacity, that has seriously impacted our revenue stream to provide funds for our member institutions. That’s where the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) came into play with the help of Paducah Bank.”

As soon as Betsy heard about the availability of funds through the Small Business Administration (SBA) she called Paducah Bank to see if the United Way could possibly take advantage of the assistance. “Ro Byrd was so helpful, prompt, and courteous,” Betsy explained. “Since we are not a small business with no owners, there were some questions on the application that required his help to answer adequately and accurately. Ro and everyone at Paducah Bank were so great to work with, as always. We always know that when we have a question or a need, they are there to help us in any way they can. Paducah Bank is a vital partner in the operations of our United Way in Paducah.”
The health and well being of individuals and families are at the heart of the United Way’s work in the community. This financial support for the ambiguous days ahead will be of great service to help keep the organization’s clients actively working to keep everyone healthy at a time when public health is so vitally important.

 “We are so grateful for everyone at Paducah Bank,” Betsy added. “I can’t emphasize enough how wonderful it is to have this locally-owned bank here for us at all times and especially now.”

How the United Way is responding to COVID at the United Way:

  • The United Way of Paducah-McCracken County along with partners from the Salvation Army, Family Service Society, the City of Paducah and Paducah Cooperative Ministry, are able to offer Necessity Grants to people in our community.  The grants are available to help with immediate needs of local families who have been recently furloughed/laid-off or lost income due to COVID-19.  The funds will be distributed in the form of a gift card and intended for groceries, gas and similar necessities. 
  • The United Way COVID-19 response fund will continue to respond to emerging needs of our local community and 100% of donations raised will support Paducah-McCracken County residents and/or partner agencies. 
  • The United Way worked with the City of Paducah and its public works department, Family Service Society, Salvation Army and Paducah Cooperative Ministry to move the food banks to a delivery-only option during the pandemic.  This system change protected the health of both clients and staff, while also mitigating transportation issues for many in need.
  • The United Way continues to work with other partners to provide emergency housing during the pandemic.  With shelters closed to new clients, there is nowhere for the homeless and home insecurity to shelter safely.  The United Way, Foundations, Community Kitchen, Paducah Cooperative Ministry, and the City of Paducah have created a support system to raise funds used exclusively to shelter people safely for up to eight weeks during the pandemic.  A case manager will care for each person or family housed with the goal of protecting their health and preparing them to exit into a more stable home situation when it’s safe to do so.
  • We are helping people with economic impact payments (stimulus checks) and unemployment questions. 
  • We continue to help essential workers secure transportation when in need.
  • The United Way has also collected donated cloth masks to better protect essential organizations staff, volunteers and clients.
  • We’ve found volunteers to help in a variety of ways including sorting and packing food at food banks, delivering meals to seniors and sending encouraging notes to those who are isolated or in shelter.