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Philip Maramba: Charities see tough times (Opinion) | Columnists


The outdated maxim for a profitable enterprise — location, location, location — in all probability holds true for donation drives.

Throughout this age of social distancing and staying at house, these of us fortunate sufficient to have the choice to work remotely are not often making forays to the workplace.

Whereas there’s no query this helps to keep away from doable coronavirus publicity, we’re having to do with out points of labor life that we took without any consideration, like camaraderie and ease of communication.

I’d additionally add a 3rd “C” that’s lacking from distant workplace life: alternatives for charity.

Each place I’ve labored would maintain occasions to assist these much less lucky with fundraisers or coat or meals drives. They had been pretty easy affairs: Put up just a few flyers within the kitchen space or close to the espresso machine, designate a drop-off location, ship out the occasional e mail, then move alongside the donations for distribution.

The issue now could be, with distant work, there’s nobody heading to an workplace the place they’d see a flyer or drop off donated items after they arrive for the day.

To make issues worse, the state of our pandemic economic system has left many extra in want.

I reached out to Invoice Christian, a retired Columbia Fuel official who has coordinated an worker toy drive for greater than 30 years. I made contact with him just a few years in the past via my spouse, Kris, after they each volunteered on the Manna Meal soup kitchen downtown.

I had been working with my company simply over a yr following the 2016 floods. Because the Christmas holidays neared, a colleague from Virginia requested how the workplace might assist the much less lucky — particularly youngsters who had been awaiting a go to from Santa Claus.

I requested my spouse if there have been any native charities that might use our assist and he or she talked about the Columbia Fuel Management Toy Drive that Invoice managed. What appealed to me was it being an area effort and that it helped children and households proper right here in Kanawha County.

I labored out just a few issues with our workplace and regional management and coordinated with our logistics chief. We set out just a few containers and a folding desk, printed just a few posters and despatched out just a few emails. I wasn’t certain what sort of response we’d get however figured it was value a shot.

What resulted might in all probability be known as a Christmas miracle. By the top of the drive, we’d collected containers and containers of toys and a small fleet of bicycles. Whereas I knew emergency administration staff had been within the enterprise of serving to folks, I discovered that yr that they’ve a gentle spot for serving to youngsters. I used to be floored by the show of generosity.

And so it’s gone for the previous few years. We arrange containers and make house and toys magically seem.

However, given the dearth of workplace visitors introduced on by COVID-19, together with the uncertainties of how distribution would go, I didn’t think about we might pull off a toy drive this yr.

Every week after Thanksgiving, although, my conscience was gnawing at me. I checked with Invoice, to see how he was doing.

“It has undoubtedly been a loopy yr,” he emailed again.

He’s working with a smaller workforce for security and, with few exceptions, nobody is being let into the Columbia Pipeline constructing, the place the toys are collected. He now picks up the donations on the entrance of the constructing and takes them in himself.

“I suppose I’m expendable,” he joked.

I discovered that volunteers from the Columbia Fuel Management group might be accumulating toys via Dec. 15. Among the many gadgets which might be widespread:

  • Legos
  • LOL toys
  • Board video games
  • Small bicycles (Invoice says they’re “like gold” to children)

He additionally says youngsters’s socks and blankets are wanted.

Invoice wrote: “Numerous folks need to assist, however regular chains of communication are damaged, particularly the colleges and church buildings.” The results of that breakdown goes to be some disenchanted youngsters.

After we don’t collect the place we used to, hyperlinks within the chain that bind us collectively get damaged. I instructed Invoice I hoped that these phrases would assist to reconnect the chain.

He responded, “So long as you will have the religion of a mustard seed, proper?”

For many who want to drop off donations for the Fuel Management drive, Invoice could be reached at 304-546-3395 or by e mail at bchristian1106@gmail.com. He’ll meet you on the door.

Money donations could also be despatched to: Fuel Management Toy Drive, 300 twenty eighth St. SE, Charleston, WV 25304.

Philip Maramba is a former managing editor of the Charleston Every day Mail. He now works in authorities public affairs.



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