Giving back, paying it forward, investing in your community, donating your time and talents.
They're all terms for essentially the same thing. And Jefferson City has proven time and time again that — when there's a need — caring people step up to the plate.
We recently published a story about how community support for nonprofits has actually grown over the past three years, as our community has weathered repeated crises.
After the tornado that struck Mid-Missouri, including Jefferson City, there was a groundswell of support for nonprofits, said Amber Brondel, United Way marketing and events director.
"Through our work at the United Way, we have been very blessed to see how our community comes together to raise a hand and step up however they can," Brondel said in our story. "Not just this year, but in 2019 and 2020."
Facing needs on various fronts, the United Way sought volunteers as well as monetary donations. It raised money for the disaster and its annual campaign at the same time.
Donors contributed $348,145 for a Disaster Recovery Fund and more than $700,000 in durable goods to be distributed among tornado survivors.
What's even more impressive is that the annual campaign set a record in 2019, bringing in $2.17 million.
The giving continued into the COVID-19 pandemic as the United Way raised more than $178,000 for a COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund. It also took in $61,430 for a Central Missouri Food Service Industry Fund and $13,200 for a Central Missouri Medical Personnel Relief Fund, we reported.
Then it set another record for campaign fundraising in 2020: about $2.2 million.
Brondel said hundreds of volunteer workers helped with cleanup and other needs after the tornado and needs during the pandemic ranging from making 2,667 homemade masks to working at mobile food pantries.
Our federal government has increased our debt by trillions of dollars during the pandemic. But this goes to show that government isn't always the answer to all our problems. When people in our community are truly in need, we're there to offer them a hand up.