by Frances Edstrom, columnist, Winona Post
One of my favorite events of the year has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Home and Community Options’ annual musical, which is usually presented at the end of June, will have to be moved into 2021. So we can look forward to seeing “Annie” next year!
I noticed that Winona Health’s “Salute to the Troops” is also postponed, as are many other fundraisers, because of the mandate to not gather in groups of more than 10 people, and the closure of the venues used for the events.
Many of the nonprofit organizations that stage shows, or plan other sorts of fundraisers, count on the revenue from those events to continue their valuable work in the community, often with our most vulnerable members.
HCO sent a letter to the news media in which they outlined the huge financial hit the loss of the musical revenue will mean to their organization’s work this year. Other nonprofits are in the same boat.
In all the discussion of the government planning to help businesses who have shuttered because of the effects of the virus — such as airlines, hotels, cruise ships, and, we hope, small businesses — plus the employees of those entities who have lost their jobs, I haven’t heard any talk of helping nonprofit organizations who will lose substantial revenue because of this pandemic.
We are being urged to support local restaurants by ordering take-out food. (Unfortunately, the bars that are closed don’t have such an option.) Small businesses in town are still open, many reducing their hours, and if we are feeling well, we can still shop there.
However, most organizations in the Winona area will take a huge hit from this unprecedented world event.
If we are able, we can help out our local businesses by patronizing them, and our local nonprofit organizations by continuing to give what we normally would have given.
If we were going to spend $25, $50 or $100 on tickets to the HCO show, or the hospital show, or other fundraisers, we could still give the donation, even though the events are postponed. If you can’t afford to do that, there are other ways you can continue to support your favorite local nonprofits — perhaps by volunteering, or an in-kind gift.
As Annie says, “The sun will come out tomorrow, so ya gotta hang on ’til tomorrow, come what may!” In the mean time, as we are hanging on during this crisis, we can do what we can to help our neighbors and their important work in the community.