The cancellation of events such as the London Bridge Days parade and the Balloon Festival and Fair this fall and winter leave large holes in the activity lists of many residents and visitors.

A lack of big events may be troubling but manageable. Lake Havasu City can always find a reason for a good time. More concerning is the one-year loss of charitable contributions that fund many social needs throughout the city.

The balloon festival is the big hitter in that regard. After the last event, it distributed some $130,000 to service clubs such as Rotary and Lions. Those groups in turn, regift the money to a variety of youth, adult and education programs and services.

What happens to those programs and the people whose lives are enriched by them? Will many of those programs even exist between the dual blow of an economic hit and coronavirus hampering operations? How can and should the delivery of social and educational services be reshaped because of coronavirus? Lake Havasu City isn’t alone in facing these questions. One recent poll said more than 90% of nonprofits had to modify or cut change their services because of the virus.

A natural and correct instinct is to worry first about the safety net services, those that help assure people have food, shelter, clothing and health needs addressed.

Economic uncertainties abound. In a city known for events, cancellations carry an economic cost because of the jobs involved in staging and serving the event and hosting numerous visitors. Ironically, their loss for a year will likely add to charitable needs in the city. To that end, the Lake Havasu Resource Alliance has done a good job of coordinating donations and service delivery from high profile nonprofits. These include United Way, the community health foundation, chamber of commerce and Better Business Bureau.

We bet that association has a longer tenure than it expected. Many other nonprofit programs will face self-assessments and possible pivots over core issues such as need for and delivery of service and how to fund them.

Charitable programs are all going through tumultuous gut checks these days. We salute their willingness to work toward making lives better in our city.

It’s important the community understand how those needs are changing and how agencies are shifting to address them. The loss of some events is disappointing but the loss of support programs could be very damaging for residents.

— Today’s News-Herald


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