This year's "Giving Tuesday" event organized by United Way of Cowlitz & Wahkiakum Counties was a "tremendous" success, partly thanks to an increase in donations from businesses, United Way officials said Wednesday.
United Way Executive Director Brooke Fisher-Clark said she is still calculating the total amount of items donated, but she's already determined it exceeds the amount collected in the last two years.
"We specifically noticed a difference in participation from local businesses," Fisher-Clark said. "That has increased."
She said Heritage Bank, NORPAC, Cowlitz County Health and Human Services, senior centers, Corwin Beverage Company and many other business donated, on top of all the individual donations.
Fisher-Clark said United Way collected items for 28 local non-profit organizations. Those items included toiletries, clothing, pet supplies, office supplies, medicine, food and drinks.
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"It's the holiday season and I know people get asked for money a lot this time of year, but this is neat because it's tangible items," Fisher-Clark said. "Everyone can give and contribute and ... be a part of the community."
Fisher-Clark said local the school districts appear to have received the most donations to support homeless students. Those items ranged from clothing to gift cards for gas or food.
"We had truckloads brought in just for that population, which was heartwarming," Fisher-Clark said.
United Way will likely highlight the day again next year.
"Anything that United Way can do to be the glue and connector to help the community, we want to do," Fisher-Clark said.