Many Thanks

It’s November, a nation-wide time of reflection and thanksgiving. There are plenty of reasons this year why we could focus on the hardships or challenges brought infront of us. But rather, we want to encourage the stories of hope and healing. How our community Unites to offer a hand-up when our fellow neighbors need it.

As a United Way donor, you may not often get to hear a Thank You from someone who your dollars sustained through a rough time. Below are some heartlfelt words from actual clients of our partners. Individuals who needed help, and a United Way funded partner agency was there to offer support.

MICA (Mid-Iowa Community Action) transitioned their food pantry at the beginning of the pandemic, offering delivery of necessities to those who stayed in their homes to keep socially distant from others. Many elderly individuals and those with a higher risk of catching the virus, now relied on others to have their basic needs met.

 “MICA has truly been a blessing in the lives of my family. The delivery of food to my home came at a time when I was starting to panic and worry about how I was going to feed my grandchildren (3 years up to 14 years) and myself. There are no words to express my deepest appreciation and heartfelt thanks to MICA for the food deliveries to my home. Bringing food and household supplies for us is an assurance that my family has enough food to eat and I don’t have to worry.” wrote Willa.

United Way of Story County (UWSC) provides funds to four local child care centers so they are able to offer sliding fee scales for families in need; ACPC (Ames Community Preschool Center), ChildServe, Storytime Childcare Center, and UCC (University Community Childcare). This past spring, when schools were shut down and childcare centers were closed, UWSC also worked to find emergency care for essential workers’ children.

 “We had always wanted our son to attend ACPC but weren’t certain we could make the money work. When I became ill in 2019, it became abundantly clear we had to make some changes for him. He needed the consistency and stability ACPC could offer him and with the help of United Way, we were able to make it work. The change in our son has been remarkable. Through my illness, the staff has supported him and given him the “extra” we knew he would find with ACPC. The support of United Way has allowed us to keep him in a full time position of care while I have recovered and my husband has continued to work. Without that assistance, our son would have been bounced around at different times and to different locations on separate days when more than anything he needed stability and the education and interactions ACPC gives him. The gift of ACPC having room for Zane and United Way being able to help was amazing to our family at a time when we were really struggling to make the best choices for his well-being.”

HIRTA and the Central Iowa RSVP Volunteer Driver program, both offer clients throughout the county access to affordable transportation to necessary medical appointments, employment, and more. As we know, reliable transportation can be a building block to future success and security.

“Ms. Murphy doesn't know what she would have done without HIRTA during the recent pandemic.  She does not own a vehicle and had used the bus regularly to get to and from work. However, after being laid off from her job and experiencing trouble receiving unemployment over an extended period of time, she was concerned about some of her essential needs being met during the time, especially dietary, as she is diabetic. HIRTA provided her transportation to the local food pantries, which helped to ensure she got the foods she needed to get by during this time.  She is very grateful for the service HIRTA provides and continues to use the bus when essential transportation is needed.”

These voices are just three of the many we hear each month, as our partners provide life-changing services to local individuals. We often take for granted the blessing of having a reliable vehicle, or being able to get ourselves to the grocery store and have enough money in our wallet to buy them. This year was “unprecedented” as I’m sure you’ve heard over and over again. But with United Way, you always have so much to be thankful for.