‘Non-Profit Day’ highlights local organizations taking on challenges to meet community needs

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – For nonprofits working to carry out the soul mission of helping others in their communities, continuing to serve those in need has come with an array of challenges at the over the past two years, particularly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, August 17, marking National Nonprofit Day, Eyewitness News spoke with two Wichita-area nonprofits about how they’re bouncing back, working to be better than ever.

United Way, established in communities around the world, is one of the largest nonprofits that had to adapt when the pandemic ended virtually all in-person contact. In the Wichita area, Centraide of the Plains did what he could to be there for members of the community in need.

Plains United Way President and CEO Pete Najera joined the organization in August 2020, at the height of the pandemic.

“Nonprofits were challenged to figure out how they were doing their charitable work when they could no longer be face-to-face with their customers,” Najera said.

While fundraising was a challenge, the nonprofit persevered.

“Our businesses have come back strong since COVID and they’re starting to give back to nonprofits like the United Way so we can do even more in our city,” Najera said.

The Kansas Food Bank also struggled with challenges, first brought on by the pandemic and then by inflation. Operations had to adapt with fewer volunteers and food shortages. The number of those needing help, meanwhile, jumped from 40 to 50 percent.

“It was tough for us, but in our opinion, it was much tougher for the families we were trying to serve,” Kansas Food Bank President and CEO Brian Walker said.

With a return to some sense of normalcy, Walker said the challenges of the past two years, combined with community support, have strengthened the mission and work of the Kansas Food Bank and brought their staff together as a family. .

“It made it kind of a different call. We are all here for a reason,” he said. “That’s why we’re really here. Not that we’re training for it, but let’s go out there and make sure people have food.

To kick off its fall fundraising campaign, United Way is hosting its second annual “Impact on the Plains” contest where entrepreneurs have the chance to win $100,000 to come up with and pitch ideas that address and aim to solve complex community issues. You can read more about “Impact on the Plains and how to participate” here: https://unitedwayplains.org/impact-on-the-plains/.

If you would like to donate your money, food, or time to the Kansas Food Bank, call 316-265-3663 or click here: https://kansasfoodbank.org/how-to-help/.

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