United Way of Pettis County is struggling to reach its goal of $415,000 this year, and the fund-raising campaign is scheduled to end by March 1.

Executive Director Catterina Riddle explained that less than half of that goal, or around $158,000, has been raised so far.

Riddle noted that the worldwide coronavirus pandemic is primarily to blame for the severe downturn in donations.

“Our 2020-2021 started in October and we are going to wrap it up close to the end of February. Typically, we would have started our campaign in September. And we're just really hurting this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented significant challenges for us, as well as many others in the community,” Riddle told KSIS-1050 on Wednesday.

“We weren't able to have our campaign kickoff, which is our annual car show. Not only do we miss that revenue, but we miss the opportunity to bring the community together and inspire participation in the annual campaign.

“Several companies that have supported us before, whose employees have donated to us through payroll deductions, they weren't able to guarantee those gifts this year, or they did so at a very reduced level,” Riddle noted, adding that the result is devastating to a campaign that assisted 86 percent of Pettis County's population in 2019.

United Way of Pettis County currently has 15 funded partners that depend on monies allocated to them on an annual basis. But this year may see drastic cuts in those allocations, unfortunately.

Donations are being accepted at the United Way office at 3615 West Broadway, Suite 307 in Sedalia.

“The easiest way is to go to our website at www.spcuw.org and click the donate button, or go to Facebook at www.facebook.com/spcuw and click the donate button, or you can text Pettis (26989) and donate to the campaign,” Riddle said. You can also go to harnessapp.

“If you are not in a position to donate, maybe you were hit hard with COVID as well, another way that you can help out United Way in your community is you can advocate. You can shine a light on issues that are affecting Pettis County. You can be a voice and ensure opportunities for children and families so they can thrive,” Riddle suggested.

“This is crucial to the success of our community. You can also volunteer. CASA, Open Door, Meals on Wheels, they are all seeking volunteers right now. United Way will also be seeking volunteers for our Day of Action this summer, our car show and our campaign for next year,” Riddle stated.

“Eighty six percent of the folks in Pettis County utilize the services provided by United Way and its funded partners. So it is crucial that we do get our funding, or the amount of people that we are going to be able to serve in 2021 will significantly decrease, due to not having the funding to provide those services and programs to individuals who are in desperate need of them,” Riddle concluded.