Hail to the Heroes — virtually

Getting creative and finding solutions often is what gets us through tough times. During World War II, victory gardens became popular as a way to save money and also provide much needed nourishment. In the Great Depression, soup kitchens could be found in every city across the land, where the needy could find a warm meal and a friendly smile.

Today is no different. Not-for-profits continue to provide services while at the same time shifting the ways they reach not only their base, but also their benefactors. According to MobileCause, an organization that assists not-for-profits, digital happy hours have become popular as a way to raise funds for struggling and laid-off restaurant workers.

Not-for-profits that hold fundraising 5K races have shifted to individual virtual run/walks where participants gather pledges based on distance. And museums and galleries host “virtual tours” often guided by an expert who takes donors “behind the scenes.”

It is clear that the ability to adapt is how many organizations will survive these difficult times. Last month, the Guilderland Chamber of Commerce awarded Community Caregivers its Top Business 180 Award as part of the Chamber’s Annual Awards Celebration.

This distinction was given to a local business or not-for-profit that was forced to shift operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And, Community Caregivers, like many not-for-profits, is also changing the way it reaches out to its donors.

On Nov. 20 at 6:30 p.m., Community Caregivers will host its 26th Annual Gala. The virtual event — Hail to the Heroes — will honor volunteers and community partners and is being held in the memory of co-founder Joel Edwards.

“We invite everyone to join us on Zoom for an exciting evening of musical entertainment, gala trivia, an online auction and much more,” said Community Caregivers Executive Director Lee Lounsbury. “We are thrilled to have Greg Floyd of CBS6 Albany as our master of ceremonies and Tim Wiles, the director of the Guilderland Public Library, hosting a trivia event. And, while we can’t be together in person this year, we hope that people will unite online and raise a glass to our dedicated volunteers, staff, and community supporters.”

For more information on the 2020 Community Caregivers virtual gala, visit www.communitycaregivers.org or call the office at 518-456-2898.

Community Caregivers Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that provides non-medical services including transportation and caregiver support at no charge to residents of Guilderland, Bethlehem, Altamont, New Scotland, Berne, Knox, and the city of Albany through a strong volunteer pool of dedicated individuals with a desire to assist their neighbors. Its funding is derived in part from the Albany County Department for Aging, the New York State Office for the Aging, and the United States Administration on Aging.

Editor’s note: Kathy Brown is a consultant to Community Caregivers.