A couple of tweaks with a screwdriver by Servando Arredondo, and the wheel was back to its splendid spin.
Arredondo is an engagement manager for the United Way of Monongalia and Preston Counties.
His employer is the Morgantown-based organization that serves 24 outreach agencies at 46 programs across its two-county region.
The United Way is at the midway point of its campaign for 2021.
And the above toolbox implement Arredondo was forced to wield in the moment Tuesday afternoon proved to be an apt metaphor.
That’s because the annual report the organization traditionally gives at this point had to be conducted via Zoom, due to the pandemic.
And the online participants, the people charged with fronting the in-house drives for United Way’s corporate partners are always honored guests.
There’s always a themed luncheon and celebration of the numbers.
With COVID clamping down on such in-person proceedings, the United Way had to improvise and do some tweaking of its own.
It staged a “Price is Right”-style event, with participants virtually spinning the above-mentioned, specially fashioned wheel for giveaways — from United Way T-shirts to Amazon gift cards.
Which is where the handy Arredondo came in, said Macall Speaker, who is the United Way’s development director.
“It kept sticking on ‘Surprise Me,’ ” she said.
“We probably should have tested the wheel first.”
The coronavirus, meanwhile, is testing everyone’s budgets — household and business — and that’s why this campaign, she said, is more important than ever.
“We’ve had to do some things differently this year because of COVID,” she said.
“The worst is not being able to meet face-to-face with our partners and volunteers.”
However, the development director said, she’s more heartened than ever by the contributions for the 2021 campaign.
Like that pesky spinning wheel, the organization hopes to have the campaign tightened up by Dec. 15.
A total of $621,417 has come in thus far, campaign co-chairs David and Susan Hardesty reported.
David Hardesty is president emeritus of WVU and Susan Hardesty is the former first lady of the state’s flagship university.
In their previous roles, they got to know about entities reaching out for the benefit of the people who live here.
Even so, David Hardesty said, watching the United Way at work has been a real education.
The couple recently trekked to Preston County for some socially distanced witnessing of a food distribution effort.
“We’re looking at food insecurity issues, health issues, family instability — you name it,” he said.
Effective work combating the above, he said, is “a thrilling aspect” of what the United Way does when the campaign isn’t on.
Plus, there’s more than a good chance these days, Hardesty said, that the person you regarded from behind the face mask an hour ago — is a person who has needed the services of United Way.
Current monies come to 54% of the campaign goal of $1,142,000, she said.
Visit https://www.unitedwaympc.org/ to find out more about what United Way does, she continued.
And, she said, how you can contribute your dollars or volunteer hours to the organization.
Percentages and corporate-generated numbers with lots of zeros attached, she said, don’t always give a full accounting of the effort.
Because the United Way’s bottom line is people. she said.
People, she said, are the full heartbeat behind the bucks.
“Every donation is appreciated,” she said.
“We have people who donate $5, $10. And it all stays here.”