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Getting Productive with Produce During the Pandemic
Across the country, restaurants are closing or moving to new, lower-seating-capacity models, leaving food suppliers with an unprecedented surplus. Meanwhile, ironically, as unemployment rates climb to record highs, more and more Americans face food insecurity. They simply can’t afford, and don’t have, enough to eat.
As a solution to these problems, the USDA has introduced the Farmers to Families program, which aims to purchase up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products and then distribute the goods to those in need.
Agency Story: Community Food Bank of Central Alabama
The Family Market program is a partnership between Community Food Bank of Central Alabama and schools such as Susan B. Moore Elementary School in Blount County, Alabama. The program provides healthy food choices for the school’s families. After parents drop off their children at school, they can visit the Family Market for fresh fruits, vegetables, and more.
Agency Story: Pathways
Safety, stability, and community – for two residents of Pathways’ Safe Haven shelter program, these were once unfamiliar feelings.
Today, they share the remarkable story of how each of their paths out of homelessness led to a new life at Pathways – and lifelong friendship.
Agency Story: The Salvation Army
Many Americans are just a few paychecks or one big setback away from homelessness. And when that happens, it is a devastating blow. Especially if you’re a single parent. But that’s just what happened when Donna, a 34-year-old single mother, lost her job. Suddenly facing homelessness with a frightened 13-year-old daughter, Jessica turned to the place that offers help and hope: The Salvation Army. Donna and her daughter found a warm welcome as they walked through our doors. They were greeted with love and encouragement, and it wasn’t long before she knew everything would be okay.
Helping Girls and Her Garden Grow to Reach Their Potential
AmeriCorps member Destiny Askew has used part of her time during the COVID-19 pandemic to grow…in more ways than one. Destiny serves as Volunteer Outreach Coordinator with Girls Inc., a United Way of Central Alabama partner agency and has been taking the time recently to thrive in her garden – while helping the garden thrive, as well.
Agency Story: Children’s of Alabama Shows that Hope Comes from the Heart
Melena Wheeler had a normal pregnancy and birth with her daughter, Livie, so it came as a shock when Livie suddenly began having health problems. “Out of nowhere, she started grunting and walking differently. I thought she maybe had a hint of autism,” Melena said. “But that was far from what it really was.”
June 9, 2020 Funky Food Trucks Will Roll in Support of AIDS Alabama
AIDS Alabama is well-known for its innovative – and often delicious – approach to fundraising, as both Dining Out for Life and the Funky Food Truck Festival make giving back as easy as digging in at some of the area’s finest eateries. As the world continues to adapt to a “new normal” to ensure our community’s safety, however, such events are difficult to orchestrate. The Funkiest Funky Food Truck Festival will be held July 18th and will feature several food trucks from throughout the community.
The Voice of an Advocate from United Ability
Belinda is one of the most courageous, determined, and brilliant women you will ever meet. She also happens to have cerebral palsy, but she has never let that stop her from achieving her dreams.
Popular UWCA Agency Gets a Little Innovative to Solve a Big Problem
Now more than ever, Central Alabama is finding new ways to stay connected. Everything from classes and meetings to graduations and weddings are moving online, reminding us that socially distant doesn’t have to mean socially isolated. For many United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) partner agencies, volunteer opportunities are going virtual, too — just ask Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Birmingham.
Answering the Call — an Average of 394 Times a Day
All day every day, United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) is here for our community. Just dial 2-1-1* for proof. UWCA’s 2-1-1 Call Center is a 24-hour directory hotline providing neighbors with referrals to health and human services, including immediate needs such as food, affordable housing or utility payments, throughout Alabama. Each call to 2-1-1 is answered by a friendly Community Resource Specialist, a personal touch that’s integral to the experience. For many callers, speaking with a real person who can guide them to the resources to help them is a game-changer.
AAA’S Alabama Cares Program Demonstrates Just How Much It Really Does Care
Every day, United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) and our network of direct services, partner agencies and programs work to answer some of our community’s most pressing needs — even in the throes of a crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the far-reaching programs we operate internally is United Way Area Agency on Aging (AAA), which serves Jefferson County seniors in a multitude of ways. From helping with prescription drug costs and Medicare counseling to monitoring care at nursing homes and providing meals at Senior Centers, AAA is dedicated to keeping seniors and disabled individuals healthier, happier and more informed.
Keeping Mental Health in Mind Throughout a Crisis
In times of crisis, it’s especially important to look after your mental health as well as physical. Studies show that one in five adults experiences mental illness, yet less than half receive the support they need. Many individuals do not seek mental health treatment because of a lack of resources or the feared stigma attached to mental illness.
As Life Goes on During a Pandemic, So Does Education — with the Help of Many United Way Agencies
With schools shuttered statewide to slow the spread of Coronavirus, many families face the unique challenges of remote learning for the first time. A number of United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) partner agencies, however, have stepped up to help students stay connected…and maybe even give parents a much-needed break.
Meals on Wheels filled the pantries of over 1100 vulnerable seniors in Jefferson County
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the United Way Meals on Wheels program is delivering three-weeks of shelf-stable meals to homebound seniors in Jefferson County.
Repurposing Facilities in Time of Need: YMCA Provides Childcare to Essential Workers
During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the only constant is change. With every newscast or headline, new preventive measures are suggested or older ones modified, all while we adjust to working and learning from home. Change, however, gives each of us the opportunity to grow and evolve. That includes United Way of Central Alabama (UWCA) and our network of more than 80 nonprofit partner agencies. This is especially true for the YMCA of Greater Birmingham, which is providing an urgent service to essential workers.
Volunteering during the Coronavirus Pandemic: A Personal Account
The past few weeks haven’t been easy for many of us. Our collective world has been turned upside down by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Both the fear surrounding the virus and the measures taken in hopes of lessening its effect have been more than disquieting. In times of crisis, it’s easy to withdraw into yourself, especially when you and your community face something so far beyond your own control. But it’s also times like these when community – and helping your neighbor — matter most.
People Connecting People to Health and Human Services
When you have an emergency, you call 9-1-1. But what about when you’re looking for community resources, or confronted with hard times and need help? Call 2-1-1!
United Way will support 249 Birmingham and regional programs in 2020
Recently, United Way of Central Alabama’s Board of Directors approved a $26.4 million allocation to 71 United Way partner agencies. The funding will support 249 programs within a five-county region that includes Jefferson, Shelby, St. Clair, Blount and Walker counties.
1-800-AGE-LINE Is Your Connection to Senior Services Information
That’s number to call to reach the Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) of United Way’s Area Agency on Aging (UWAAA). ADRC is a trusted and unbiased wealth of helpful information serving people of all ages and incomes in their search for various assistance programs designed for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
UWAAA Program Helps Family Caregivers Deal with Demanding Responsibilities
Although rewarding, caregiving is far from an easy job. Truth be told, it can test even the healthiest individuals’ mental and physical stamina, putting them at risk for everything from exhaustion to depression and anxiety disorders – especially in cases involving stroke survivors and those with dementia. But Alabama Cares, a United Way Area Agency on Aging (UWAAA) program, offers assistance and support to caregivers with issues that arise from the unique responsibilities, demands and stress of their position. This is accomplished through the following five types of services.
Priority Veteran Aids Near Homeless Vet in Becoming a Lawyer
Today, Veteran Antonio Gray, a Jones Law School graduate, is a practicing attorney with Hampton and Ford in Montgomery, Alabama. But his story might not have been one of achievement because of the struggles behind his journey. “Without United Way’s Priority Veteran, I have no clue where I would be literally,” said Gray.
When Called to Serve, Meals on Wheels Volunteer George Hamilton Has Always Answered
Volunteers such as Mr. Hamilton help Meals on Wheels deliver a taste of hope to seniors across our community day after day. With one in six Alabama seniors facing food insecurity – and about 100 new requests for service coming into Meals on Wheels every month there’s never been a better time to donate or volunteer in support of this vital program. You can learn more about those opportunities here.
Women United: Armed with Information and Taking Action through Advocacy
Information is knowledge. Knowledge is power. The members of Women United understand the power of advocacy in bringing about positive change in our community. That’s why they’re intent on learning as much as possible about matters that impact the lives of other women in Central Alabama – the conditions on the ground and opportunities for improvement.
UWCA and Better Basics Partner for Summer Learning Family Night
Skills for Summer Learning was the theme for the recent Family Night held by Family Stability Services, a program of United Way’s Financial Stability Partnership. UWCA collaborated with Better Basics to provide parents with tools to make sure their children are still learning even when school is not in session, and are confident in their reading.
New Solutions to Feed the Need among Central Alabama Seniors
Imagine simply not having enough to eat. Going hungry. Or literally starving.
Across the United States, millions of senior citizens face hunger, often being put in the impossible position of deciding whether to put their limited income toward groceries or other necessities, such as medicine or utilities. This epidemic affecting America’s aging is especially alarming in Alabama, where the rate of food insecurity among seniors is the second-highest in the nation and double the national average. Here in the five-county area of Central Alabama alone, more than 25,000 seniors – roughly the entire population of Homewood – regularly go without food or don’t know where their next meal is coming from.
Free Tax Preparation Services Offered at UWCA
*Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, United Way’s Free Tax Preparation program is temporarily suspending appointments through the end of March. MyFreeTaxes, the affordable, online tax prep software from United Way and H&R Block, is still available for use from your computer, tablet or smart phone. The deadline for filing and paying federal income tax without interest or penalties has officially been extended to July 15th.