From the Front Lines

December 16, 2020

By Julie Capaldi, President, United Way of Pickens County


As I watch the COVID-19 Recovery Fund shrink and the requests for assistance explode, it scares the heck out of me.

After nine months dealing with the aftermath of the coronavirus, I have discovered a clear pattern of requests for assistance.  The first need is food. When someone is hungry, they will humble themselves and ask for help, especially when there are children involved.  Then the requests for rent and utility assistance come especially now that the weather is cold.

Just days after my “Hunger” article was published, I received an email from one of our hard working partners on the front lines.  It was simple and to the point. “Request for additional COVID-19 Recovery funds”. UGH!

This is what she wrote…“Well…here I am again asking for more funds. I am rather sad in doing so as I have hoped and prayed the COVID picture would be much brighter by now.

Bottom line, all of our United Way COVID-19 funds are depleted meaning we have spent $36,500 in rent/utilities and another $2,500 in food purchasing.

In the past 24 hours, we’ve received fifteen online financial assistance requests and I honestly can’t tell you how many phone calls. We do continue to share a Google sheet with other agencies so that we do not duplicate from the same funds.”

 She asked for $10,000.  DONE! That is the beauty of United Way’s partnership with our community agencies.  We promised them COVID-19 Recovery Funding, and thanks to the generosity of Pickens County, we have been able to come through every time…so far. Her agency has served 55 families since September with United Way funding.

As 2020 ends, United Way is relying on the community for additional COVID-19 Recovery funding. The reason is very simple.  COVID-19 is not done with Pickens County.  Families continue to struggle to get back on their feet and it will take all of us working together to help them.

We’ve called it a “Special Year End Appeal” but what I really want to call it is a “DESPERATION” appeal.  It terrifies me to see how quickly we’ve gone through the COVID-19 Recovery Fund.  The old Julie would be freaking out, but the NEW Julie has faith in her community.  That is reason to REJOICE, not recoil in panic. (I keep telling myself).

If you would like donate to the “Special Year End Appeal” here is all the information.  You can send a check to United Way of Pickens County, PO Box 96, Easley, SC  29641. To make a secure credit card donation, our website is You can also make a stock gift.  Edward Jones handles our account.  Call them, 864-855-2500 or me, 864-420-1635.

Everyone at United Way of Pickens County wants you to know how amazing you are and we want you have a wonderful and safe holiday.  

This editorial first appeared in the Sentinel Progress on December 16, 2020.