United Way Kicks Off Campaign with ‘Week of Caring’ Aug. 17-23

Week of Caring

Weeklong Event includes Virtual Interactive Bingo, Food Drive

HATTIESBURG, MISS. – United Way of Southeast Mississippi is kicking off its annual fundraising campaign Aug. 17-23 with a week of opportunities for local residents to give back to their community. 

During the “Week of Caring” event, members of the community are invited to play a game of virtual Bingo, through which participants are prompted to perform a series of charitable acts in a row. Those who do an act of caring in each square across the virtual Bingo board and claim Bingo will be entered for a drawing to win prizes.

Participants can access the virtual Bingo card at unitedwaysems.org/weekofcaring. To be eligible to claim Bingo and be entered for a prize, you must:

  1. Select charitable acts in line vertically, horizontally or diagonally across the board
  2. Do the activity and take a photo of yourself during the activity.
  3. Email volunteersems@unitedwaysems.org with the Subject Line: "BINGO" and include photos for each square you did, along with your first and last name, your county of residence, and phone number.
  4. Share a post on social media of one of your "acts of caring" photos, tag United Way of Southeast Mississippi and include #UnitedInCaring.

Bingo entries should be submitted no later than Sunday, Aug. 23.

“We wanted this year’s campaign kick-off event to be something that people could have fun with while also offering them a chance to give back to their community in a variety of ways,” said Ali Rogers, director of United Way SEMS’s volunteer center, Volunteer Southeast Mississippi. “This has been such a difficult year for so many and a lot of folks want to help but feel helpless or unsure of how they could make a difference. This is a safe and effective way for them to do that.”

In addition to Bingo, individuals can also give back by donating “bags of groceries” through a Virtual Food Drive that will help stock local food pantries that are serving Pine Belt families. Tracie Fowler, president/CEO of United Way SEMS, said donations to the food drive could go a long way, as $15 could cover one bag of groceries.

“One of the big challenges we’ve noticed since the start of the pandemic has been an overwhelming increase in families signing up for assistance at local food pantries that we partner with in the area. Because so many people have lost their jobs or work hours and, therefore, are receiving less income than before, the local food pantries have been nearly depleted of food in an effort to meet the needs of more and more households,” said Fowler. “The more donations we can get through this Virtual Food Drive the more local families we could help for months to come.”

Donations from the Virtual Food Drive will go to support the work of Christian Services and Edwards Street Food Pantry. Those interested in donating to the Food Drive can do so beginning Aug. 17 at unitedwaysems.org/weekofcaring. 


The Week of Caring event serves as a kick-off for United Way of Southeast Mississippi’s Community Campaign, an annual fundraising campaign that has been specific to local workplaces in the past but this year is open to members of the general public who want to support the organization’s programs and partner agencies, as well as crisis relief efforts. Companies that would like to host their own workplace campaign to support United Way’s efforts can call (601) 545-7141. Individuals wanting to pledge a donation through United Way’s Community Campaign can do so at unitedwaysems.org/pledge