The United Way of Leflore County is gearing up for its annual one-day fundraiser.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the event will feature several changes from its normal format, including the addition of health and safety precautions.
“Due to the COVID-19 regulations, and our concern for the health and well-being of our community, we have had to make some changes to this year’s United Way of Leflore County All-In Event,” said Courtney Kimmel, executive director of the United Way of Leflore County. “This was a hard decision to make, but the board of directors believe it is the right decision.”
The fifth annual All-In Event will be held Friday at the Greenwood Country Club.
The day will include tennis, golf, bingo and a Facebook Live drawdown. The event, however, will not include evening festivities, which usually featured a silent auction, food, drinks and entertainment held inside the country club.
“We are dedicated to keeping the community safe, and I am certain everyone within the community understands the necessity of the measures we’ve taken,” said Gwen Neal, board president. “We look forward to the next time when we can come together for this worthy cause”
The All-In Event serves as a fundraiser for the United Way and the 13 nonprofit agencies it supports — ArtPlace Mississippi, Beacon Harbor, Boy Scouts of America, Delta Grace, Community Food Pantry, Girl Scouts Heart of the South, Greenwood Interfaith Ministries Community Kitchen, Fuller Center for Housing, Leflore County 4-H clubs, Leflore County Humane Society, The Salvation Army and the Boys and Girls Club’s Greenwood unit and Mississippi Valley State University unit.
“The All-In Event has become a communitywide affair the last couple of years, and we are disappointed that we won’t be able to fellowship with all our supporters in 2020. However, we are appreciative of the outpouring of sponsor money we received this year from local businesses,” said Kimmel.
Cannon Motors of Mississippi is the event’s title sponsor for the fifth consecutive year.
On top of Cannon’s sponsorship, the All-In Event has an additional 46 sponsors this year.
The United Way is “thankful for (Cannon’s) sponsorship and all of our sponsors for reaching out and supporting us so much, which really shows how great this community is,” said Kimmel.
Organizers were hoping to reach $30,000 in sponsorship money this year and reached $45,850.
“I hope everyone recognizes the important role local businesses play in assisting those in need,” said Kimmel. “It’s our local businesses that make us able to help these 13 nonprofits.”
The All-In Event will kick off at 10 a.m. with a new addition, a women’s tennis tournament.
“We have 24 people playing in teams of two, so we have a round-robin tournament that starts at 2 p.m.,” said Kimmel.
All teams have been filled, and participants must sign a waiver before playing. New tennis balls will be used during every game. Each participant will receive an individual hand sanitizer and a box lunch.
“We are excited about that addition,” said Kimmel. “Greenwood Drugs jumped on that right away as the full sponsor with a $2,000 donation.”
At 12:30 p.m., the annual All-In golf tournament will begin. The tournament will include 18 teams that have already registered. Players will be given the option to have a golf cart by themselves, will be given individual hand sanitizers and will sign a waiver. Participants will also each receive a box lunch.
“It’s a shotgun start, and everybody starts on a different hole,” said Kimmel.
The only event to be held indoors will be bingo, which will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m.
Bingo will take place in the country club’s ballroom. The space seats about 500, but only 40 or less will be allowed to play at a time.
“We have decided we can safely offer bingo,” said Kimmel.
Masks will be required upon entry. Participants will receive disposable paper bingo cards and disposable disks to cover their numbers.
“You can take as many cards as you want, and then throw them away,” said Kimmel.
Light refreshments individually packaged in boxes will be provided. The cost is $25 per player for an unlimited number of cards. There will be six bingo prizes.
The All-In Event’s drawdown will be held at 6 p.m. It will livestream on the United Way of Leflore County’s Facebook page.
The drawdown will last less than 30 minutes. Tickets are $100 each, and the grand prize is $5,000. There will be eight additional prizes. Winners do not have to watch in order to receive the prizes.
Bingo and drawdown prizes will range from a $25 gift card to a local restaurant to a $20 to $25 item from a local business.
Corteva Agriscience is donating all individual hand sanitizers for the event.
While the addition of sponsors this year will be a big help, the loss of the silent auction and night event will still be felt. The silent auction alone usually raises $10,000 to $15,000 each year.
“We are going to be short this year for sure,” said Kimmel.
The pandemic has not only impacted the All-In Event, but also other United Way fundraising efforts. Some of those include a Viking Cooking School class, which typically brings in $4,000; Drive 4 UR Community, which raises $5,000 to $6,000; and the Pacesetters Party, which raises an additional $10,000 to $15,000.
“We have been extremely fortunate that United Way Worldwide has been raising money themselves, and they have given us a disbursement,” said Kimmel.
The Leflore County nonprofit was already awarded $2,600 and is receiving another grant for $20,000 from United Way Worldwide.
“That is going to help tremendously,” said Kimmel.
But the United Way is still in need of help, with many of its organizations being heavily impacted by the pandemic.
“They are all in need right now,” said Kimmel.
Two organizations that provide food — the Community Kitchen and Food Pantry — are both in need. The Salvation Army, which has been providing utilities and rent assistance, is also in need. The Boys and Girls Club units also need assistance with purchasing supplies needed in order to prepare for opening back up.
“People sometimes feel like if I can’t give $100 I won’t give; everything adds up,” said Kimmel. “We always say that if you’ve got $10 to give and you just want to reach out and help somebody, $10 helps a lot.”
A $10 donation “can buy a stack of to-go plates for the Community Kitchen” or “a couple of reams of paper for the Boys and Girls Club. Anything people want to give is helpful.
It doesn’t have to be a large amount.”
For more information about the event or to purchase a drawdown ticket, contact Kimmel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 392-3036.
Donations can be mailed to United Way of Leflore County, P.O. Box 524, Greenwood, MS 38935. To make a donation online, visit www.uwoflc.org.
Kimmel said the following sponsors “have really, really supported us this year. We have more in sponsor money than we ever had, which I think says a lot for our local community, our local business people, that amongst all of this that they are so supportive of the United Way.”
• Cannon Motors of Mississippi, title; Kimmel Aviation Insurance Agency, America's Catch, Blue Ridge Foods and Staplcotn, food and beverage; Greenwood Drugs, tennis tournament; KT Builder, Upchurch Plumbing, Viking Range, Planters Bank, Guaranty Bank, Atmos Entergy, Bank of Commerce, Staplcotn, Raymond James, Mitchell Distributing, First South Credit, Kirk Auto Group, Mississippi Valley State University, Greenwood Leflore Industrial Board, Farm Bureau, Pro Shield Roofing and Construction and Regions Bank, golf teams; city of Greenwood, BankPlus, Trustmark, Barnes Janitorial, Milwaukee Tool, Kix 92.7 and Wade Inc., community pride; CB&S Bank, RC Construction, old City Hall, Taylor, Powell, Wilson & Hartford, Aviation Services, Greenwood Gastroenterology and Ainsworth Signs, friends of United Way; Wilson & Knight Funeral Home, bingo; Greenwood Leflore Hospital, hole in one; city of Greenwood, longest drive; KT Builder, putting contest; Heartland Catfish, most accurate drive; CB&S Bank, beverage cart; All Star Trophies, Edward Jones, Powers Properties and Rotary Club of Greenwood, closest to the pin; and Uptel Communications, Clark Insurance and Todd Fincher, helping hand.
• Contact Ruthie Robison at 581-7235 or email@example.com.