Shiawassee United Way began its fall campaign this past week. This is the primary money maker of the year for the organization. “We are excited to share with the community the many positive ways we help people throughout Shiawassee County,” said 2016 Campaign Chairperson Mark Hudson. “While there are still many people needing help, Shiawassee United Way is making progress on addressing root causes of poverty and making lasting changes that better the quality of life for all people in Shiawassee County.”
“Betty” came to Shiawassee United Way needing food for her children so that she would have enough money to pay her water bill. She did not often ask for help, but her wages were at poverty levels and sometimes paying rent and utilities was all she could afford. The staff at Shiawassee United Way gave her food but heard her mention her true needs. They knew of a house that was for rent close to her children’s school and mentioned she might look at it. Two weeks later, Betty stopped by the office to tell the staff that she now rents that house. Her family is living in a bigger, cleaner space and saving $100 per month.
The amount of people needing food assistance from Hunger Network pantries is rising. “We continue to see employed people needing help to feed their families because there just aren’t enough financial resources to cover monthly basic needs. The bulk of the people we see are not lazy or making poor decisions. Rather, they are hardworking people who are not able to earn enough money, or they are too old or too ill to work. How can anyone turn a blind eye to that?” said Retta Parsons, CEO of Shiawassee United Way.
This year’s campaign goal is $240,000. “We are certain that the people of Shiawassee County will see the value in giving people a ‘hand up’ by feeding the working poor through the Hunger Network, providing a help line for people in crisis who need information, and addressing root causes of poverty by funding programs at other agencies. Shiawassee United Way provides a comprehensive, long-term approach that just cannot be found anywhere else,” Hudson said.
Give a hand-up rather than a hand-out. Donate to Shiawassee United Way today by visiting shiawasseeunitedway.org or sending a donation to 123 S. Washington, Owosso, MI 48867.