Nebraskans are known for their generosity.
That’s nothing new, and Northeast and North Central Nebraska continue to prove that time and again — most recently with the Norfolk Area Big Give earlier this month and with continuing COVID-19 relief efforts.
Like everything nowadays, COVID-19 threw a curveball to organizers of the Big Give. But they proceeded to smash that ball out of the park. Or, more precisely, more than 600 individual donors connected with a mighty swing — to the tune of almost $92,000 toward more than 40 nonprofit organizations.
Even with an online-only event and no giving events around town, you would have never known it judging by the amount raised, which is comparable to and, in some cases, even surpassed previous years.
By and large, much of those donations went to two causes: children and COVID-19, which are interconnected in some ways.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, instead of holding an event as in years past, the Briggs & Barrett Project, for example, asked donors to support their local community through ordering from a local restaurant, shopping locally or finding other ways to help your family, friends and neighbors. Several other organizations had donors give to specific COVID-19 relief funds.
While not a part of the Big Give, the Regrow Norfolk effort merits mention as a way to help Norfolk businesses. As the business community struggles through the COVID-19 pandemic, the gift card program is designed to assist small businesses, and some of the same organizations involved in this effort also were involved in the Big Give.
With the Big Give, more than two-thirds of the money raised went toward projects involving children. The needs included student textbooks, meals, tuition assistance and scholarships for dual-credit courses. Outside school, the funds will help provide books, blankets, food and fitness opportunities. Camp Willow and S.M.I.L.E. both aim to help children with special needs through a summer camp and therapeutic horseback riding, respectively.
A lot of attention — and rightfully so — went to these projects.
However, there are many other worthy projects deserving of support that didn’t crack the leaderboard for the event. That includes the Healthy Communities Initiative, which aims to reduce substance abuse among youths and young adults in Burt, Cuming, Stanton and Madison counties in Nebraska.
With so many teenagers struggling with vaping, alcohol and drug use, this is one project that could end up saving lives.
So we encourage you to take a look at some of these other groups and consider giving to them as well.