COVID-19: One year later - Keeping watch on our community
It has been one year since South Carolina literally shut down due to COVID-19. During that time, we've seen pain and agony along with a caring community who stepped up to help.

Trident United Way began during World War II as a community commitment to help our neighbors in need and has been keeping watch ever since. Our organization is a leader throughout difficult times: WWII, Korean & Vietnam wars, civil rights movement, Navy base closure, economic downturns, natural disasters and now a global pandemic.

Throughout all of this, you have been there to touch lives and provide hope.

The numbers have personal stories. A single mom's restaurant job ending and finding a partner agency to provide food and enough money to pay for electricity. Another woman losing her husband and finding hope when she thought there was none.
A small sample of success stories - thanks to your support

From funded-partner East Cooper Community Outreach:

Ms. Jones told our staff about the stress of her husband being laid off due to COVID-19 and falling behind on her rental bill. It became too much to handle and she was slipping into unhealthy coping mechanisms. Trident United way was able to help her with food, refer her husband to Palmetto Project for job search assistance and help cover 2 months of rent.

From funded-partner Lowcountry Food Bank

At Mitchell Elementary, 62 children facing hunger on the weekend enrolled in the BackPack Buddies program. A school coordinator took some food bags to children who were still learning remotely. An 8-year-old boy said, "look at all of our food." Getting those bags was like Christmas morning to them. This family was affected by COVID-19. They are so appreciative of the food as it tremendously helps them. A big thank you to all who help fund this program.

Read Across America Day goes virtual

Trident United Way partnered with schools across the Tri-County for our 4th annual Read Across America Day. The celebration looked a little different this year as 40 volunteers read remotely to kids in 42 classrooms.
Special guest readers included Live 5’s morning team of Michal Higdon, Abbey O’Brien and Rob Way, along with Anne Emerson from ABC News 4 and News 2 anchor Sofia deSaussure.

Read Across America Day is one of many volunteer programs Trident United Way offers to benefit the community. To learn more about ways you can help volunteer, visit
Donate to our African American Leadership Council book drive

Help promote reading by taking part in our 6th annual Trident United Way African American Leadership Council book drive. Grades K-3 will be receiving books later this spring.

Click this link to buy a teacher-selected book, or you can drop off books at these Charleston locations now through May 15 from 9 a.m to 5 p.m.

  • South State Bank, 2440 Mall Drive
  • South State Bank, 1995 Magwood Drive
  • Order of Eastern Star, 1001 King Street

Forum addresses vaccinations and minority communities
The Healthy Tri-County Initiative, powered by Trident United Way, hosted an informative Conversation on Race and Health Equity forum focusing on disparities for the COVID-19 vaccine among persons of color.

SC DHEC experts Emma Frazier and Ashley Green, along with former Health & Human Services external affairs director, Anton Gunn, profiled how minority communities bear a larger brunt of COVID-19 infection and death rates, as the chart below details.
All panelists agree more needs to be done, especially in rural and minority communities, to heighten awareness of getting a COVID-19 vaccine when people become eligible.

Click here for a full wrap-up of the event, including detailed slides.
During these trying times, we should all be inspired to be surrounded by the many heroes in our region, including our active-duty military and veterans. Their core duty is to keep “the watch” at home and abroad.

The past year tested us like no other. COVID-19 brought a new awareness of how Trident United Way keeps “the watch” across our community. Donors and volunteers have come together, much like a well-trained military unit, to give and to serve.

While we have optimism for continued vaccinations and economic growth, COVID-19’s negative impacts persist. Tri-County calls for assistance to our 211 Helpline shot up 800% at one point last year and remain at high levels now.
Our VP of evaluation and public policy estimates 10,000 fewer people will be employed just in the Tri-County hospitality sector this summer compared with pre-pandemic.

It will continue to take a UNITED effort to keep “the watch” for our friends and neighbors in need. Though the seas may still get rough, I’m confident that our community will weather this storm and come out more resilient than ever.