Across our communities, we are experiencing a taste of what we've missed as "normal": COVID-19 hospitalizations are under 100 statewide, with vaccines are now available to all adults and children as young as 12. Amusement parks, beaches, museums, restaurants and theaters are all open to the public. Face masks are becoming less mandated.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its after-shocks will reverberate for years to come. Connecticut has recovered 60% of the more than 290,000 jobs lost in 20201. Parents worry about learning loss as we head into summer. Educators wonder how COVID learning loss will impact inequities experienced by students from lower income families and traditionally marginalized communities. Reopening is marred by grief and anxiety for large swaths of the community. United Ways across Connecticut are still fielding record requests for help getting food, financial assistance and health care.
United Way's work to mitigate this crisis is far from over, but we are undaunted. The work we've accomplished and what lies ahead underscore United Way's commitment of service to our communities and families in need. This challenging time has distilled our work to the core importance of taking care of each other. It has shown us the importance of galvanizing the caring power of our community. This is the next "normal."
Throughout 2020, United Way of Western Connecticut raised and put back into our communities more than $300,000 for COVID-19 response and recovery, fueled by the generosity of companies and individuals who wouldn't let neighbors suffer. Those funds helped thousands of people stay in their homes, feed their families, keep the lights on, and survive job losses and furloughs.
Our communities still need us to show up, so we’ve created a Live United initiative focusing on rebuilding our community into a stronger, more equitable place. Because we believe that rebuilding isn’t a matter of going back to where we were. Instead, it’s reimagining how we can be better, and building towards that – together. No other organization is better positioned to do this work than United Way.
With your support, we can help every person have an equal opportunity to succeed. Strong communities need a strong United Way. Join us to Live UNITED.