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Why give to the Shiawassee United Way? Retta Parsons, CEO of the Shiawassee United Way answers, “Our main goal is to address the root causes of poverty in Shiawassee County. While we all comprehend that there is real, large-scale need in our community, we also expect that our donated dollars are being used in the most efficient and effective manner possible so that more services can get to those in need. All monies raised by Shiawassee United Way stay in Shiawassee County.”
To achieve the ambitious vision of addressing the root causes of poverty in Shiawassee County, Shiawassee United Way (SUW) offers many services to the community that had not existed previously. The organization serves as the administrator of the Shiawassee Hunger Network, which is an alliance of 18 food and personal needs pantries located throughout the county. They collaborate to better serve the many neighbors in need in the county. In 2009, the Shiawassee Hunger Network pantries served approximately 39,000 community members. Also provided to those in need were approximately 64,000 personal care products.
Shiawassee United Way expanded its own food pantry allowing more families to be fed when they were already in Owosso, saving trips and, consequently, gasoline. In only the first quarter of 2010, the SUW food pantry served 216 persons, 86 of them being children. A partnership with Perry Alternative Education ensures that families of adult students and also several homeless adult students have nutritious meals so that high school completion becomes a task with fewer barriers.
When those in need come to their United Way, they are offered the opportunity to apply for a Michigan Bridge Card. This can provide a family the opportunity to realize the maximum safety net offered to them.
SUW is offering financial support in the form of grants to 11 programs at 8 other non-profit agencies throughout the county in 2010. Programs funded by Shiawassee United Way donations must demonstrate measurable results. Site visits are made to ensure that services are delivered in the community in an efficient and effective manner. This comprehensive approach ensures accountability to donors. It also ensures that the root causes of poverty are being addressed.
Emergency homelessness became a large challenge in 2009. Shiawassee United Way successfully secured $5,100 in grants to help fund the efforts of the Church and Community Emergency Homelessness Coalition. This made it possible for 106 persons, including children, in this community to receive up to three nights in a hotel where they could experience shelter, warmth, a hot shower, and dignity.
While Shiawassee United Way was busy tending to the needs of the most vulnerable, we are also strengthening the safety net for each and every person in the community. We are working diligently to bring the United Way 211 Social Service and Disaster Information Line to Shiawassee County. This is a huge task as there are many requirements that must be met for Michigan Alliance of Information & Referral Systems and Michigan Public Service Commission approval. The final implementation of this service is estimated to take us well into 2010 or early 2011.
SUW has distributed over 15,000 Family-Wize Prescription Discount Cards, free of charge, to anyone who requested one. This card offers discounts on prescriptions not covered by insurance. These efforts have resulted in approximately $63,000 of total savings to a county of 70,880 persons.
You do not have to be a Shiawassee County resident to make an impact on a community with one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation. You can be a vital part of the safety net to all who live and work in Shiawassee County. Please give generously by accessing the secure donation link on this website. Join our Facebook community to learn more about your Shiawassee United Way. Thank you.