Our new normal is a world of uncertainty and change. That will take some getting used to. But we need to do more than adapt to a post-pandemic world. We need to build a better one. Thousands of people in our community devastated by the events of 2020 need your support to rebuild their lives.
At the beginning of the year, none of us were prepared for what we would confront. And no one knew how many in our community would need our help. Faced with a once-in-a-generation challenge, Story County stepped up. United Way of Story County’s staff, donors, volunteers and our entire community came together in an unprecedented way. We helped, and continued to help, our neighbors who were most impacted by the global pandemic and economic downturn get the relief and support they needed.
- Raised $134,000 for the COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Fund
- Served over 6,000 individuals through emergency food programs
- Exceeded $43,000 in funding local food pantries through our LIVE UNITED Food Drive
- Supported 570 individuals facing homelessness and funded prevention services
- Provided workforce training for 27 individuals in three high demand industries
- Offered mental health care services to the community
- Helped 15 organizations with derecho clean up, building projects, thank you notes to frontline workers and more to the tune of 360 volunteer hours and counting
But there is so much more to do. Hundreds in our community still struggle with unemployment, food insecurity, housing and health challenges. Many don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or how they will pay the rent or the bills. Even more are teetering on the edge without back-up savings. Students are struggling academically because of the unconventional school year schedule. Adults are suffering from anxiety and depression, and many are facing mental health challenges for the first time.
Many families already struggling before the pandemic, especially families from marginalized backgrounds, have suffered disproportionately and more acutely during the COVID-19 crisis. Long-standing disparities have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
Consider this: 11 million individuals in Americans are unemployed. More than 1 in 10 don’t know where their next meal is coming from. At least 30 million people are at risk of eviction. Almost three in 10 adults have no emergency savings. Two out of three children aren’t reading proficiently for their grade level. 15% of students don’t graduate high school. 18% of kids struggle with childhood obesity. Nearly 1 in 5 adults live with a mental illness.
These are our neighbors. And they cannot wait any longer for relief, for support, for equality, for the opportunity to live a healthy, thriving life.
At United Way of Story County, we are working toward a new tomorrow for our community, one that offers; healthier starts for children, safer homes and nutritious meals, greater equity, better access to health care, and more opportunities to earn a livable wage.
Together we must build a better future for our community, one where every person has equal opportunities to thrive. That work must start today. Respond to the new year with hope, with possibility, and with action. Let’s commit and Start Today United.