United Way Works to Improve Health and Meet Basic Needs
When individuals are unable to meet their immediate needs, it is more difficult to focus on long-term goals. Whether it is a neighbor without health insurance, a victim of abuse, or someone struggling to keep a roof over their head and food on the table, United Way recognizes that basic needs services are essential to the most vulnerable in our community and critical to getting people back on the road to self-sufficiency.
Martha, a resident of Hardin County, a full-time student at ECTC, a mother and wife, hadn’t been feeling well for some time. While her husband and son did have insurance, she did not. Unfortunately, she didn’t qualify for assistance and couldn’t afford the high premiums offered by her husband’s employer or on the healthcare exchange. After learning that she did qualify for assistance at the Community Health Clinic, Martha began seeing several volunteer physicians, eventually learning that she would require open heart surgery. A short time later she found herself in surgery having a triple by-pass, later learning that she had 70, 80 and 90 percent blockages. Martha is now in rehabilitation and is giving back to those that helped her by serving as a site VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) for the Community Health Clinic.
United Way is a centralized resource of nonprofit programs and services, and refers hundreds of people in crisis each year to agencies that can help meet their needs. We are always working to organize existing resources in our community, so we can make more efficient referrals. Our resource guide is available online anytime to those in need or for use by other organizations that could find this information helpful.
Give a Day for Hunger
In 2016, a record-setting number of volunteers came together to ensure that no child in our region went hungry over spring and fall breaks by providing additional food to each at-risk child on the Backpack program. In total, 1,133 volunteers packed over 20,016 Backpack program bags serving 1,747 hours at a value of over $36,966 during this year’s Give A Day For Hunger initiatives. With additional funding provided by Give270, the Give A Day for Hunger Initiative expanded from its original roots in Hardin County to ensure that Breckinridge, Grayson, LaRue, and Meade County students also received additional Backpack program bags over school breaks.
Housing & Homelessness Coalition
Through our research into community needs over the last several years, we learned that our nearest homeless shelter in Louisville was not able to take individuals and families from our region as had been thought to be standard practice in the past. This new understanding led to the development of an organized interagency effort to provide a local solution for those facing homelessness during the winter, and develop a plan to serve these families throughout the year. Our AmeriCorps VISTA program was able to provide a full-time position to support these collective efforts. We are proud to know that our community has responded to this need by offering an emergency shelter program from December-February in partnership with multiple churches. To learn more about the Coalition's work contact United Way of Central Kentucky at (270) 737-6608.
Improving Access to Healthy Foods
In addition to funding the distribution of produce through Feeding America’s Farms to Foodbanks program, we have helped companies like Altec engage their employees in growing healthy fruits and vegetables for those in need. Altec’s Grow for Good initiative encouraged staff to plant extra seeds in the spring so additional produce could be developed through our partnership with Feeding America. This was an easy and low-cost way for more local residents to have better access to fresh foods they may not otherwise be able to afford.
FamilyWize Prescription Savings Program
Do you or your co-workers need prescription medications that are not covered under their insurance, or have high co-pays or annual deductibles? In a partnership between United Way and FamilyWize Community Services, United Way offers free discount cards to local families. The cards are like coupons that can be used as much as you want, with 46% of the prescriptions filled through this program last year costing $15.00 or less. There’s even a Drug Price Lookup Tool provided free of charge on familywize.org and via the free FamilyWize app. Just enter the name of their medication and zip code to see which local pharmacy has the best FamilyWize price prior to filling your prescription. If your company would like to offer this benefit, we can provide free cards and materials to share with your employees. Learn more about this program here or download your card today.
FamilyWize and United Way have partnered to help almost 10 million people save more than $1 billion on the prescription medications they need. This effort has helped improve the health and financial stability of individuals and families in our communities nationwide. For more information on this impact, check out this Health Impact Report.
- American Red Cross: $7,500 to support fire and disaster recovery efforts.
- Central Kentucky Community Action: $17,000 to help families with children move out of poverty, engage seniors in volunteerism and community service at local nonprofits, and to allow seniors to live independently in their own homes.
- Community Health Clinic: $80,000 to provide healthcare for the working poor who fall through the cracks in the insurance system.
- Elizabethtown Independent Schools’ Panther Place After School Program: $30,000 to provide at-risk students with homework assistance, educational enrichment, physical activities, and family events.
- Feeding America: $77,000 to keep local students from going hungry over the weekend through the BackPack program and distribute produce from the Farms to Foodbanks program.
- Grayson County Alliance: $55,000 to prevent children and families from going hungry.
- Grayson County Ministerial Association: $10,000 to improve the self-sufficiency of those struggling to meet their basic needs.
- Grayson County Schools: $21,138 to support Lawler and Clarkson Elementary’ s United Way Born Learning Academies which engage parents in preparing their children for kindergarten, provide technology for H.W. Wilkey, and meet at-risk Caneyville students’ basic needs so they can be successful in the classroom. A new Better Families Workshop series will also be developed to teach parenting, money management, stress reduction, and household management skills to families.
- Helping Hand of Hope: $117,500 to provide emergency assistance with rent, utilities, and other basic needs and to facilitate job placement services that remove barriers to employment.
- Magnolia Cumberland Presbyterian Church’s Shepherd’s Pie Food Pantry: $18,000 to provide fresh produce, meat, and other foods to families struggling with hunger.
- Meade Activity Center: $20,000 to provide scholarships for low-income children to participate in youth sports and summer camps.
- Silverleaf Sexual Trauma & Recovery Services: $40,000 to provide counseling to children who have suffered sexual abuse and to prevent future mental health and substance abuse which can stem from untreated trauma.
- SpringHaven Domestic Violence Program: $60,000 to provide safety for survivors of domestic violence as well as the advocacy, education, and resources needed for them to regain their independence and self-sufficiency.