United Way goes the extra mile for local families facing hardships


United Way Kids

This year, a family came to the United Way with a simple request: gas money.

Dad was having a hard time finding work, so he became an Uber driver. He needed cash to fill his tank so he could drive that evening. He hoped to make enough money to cover one night in a hotel for his family.

The Department of Child Services had given the couple until nightfall to find a suitable place for their family to sleep. The couple’s son has special needs, and a social worker who had stopped by the rental house to check on him discovered the family had been sleeping in their car parked outside of the home. Sewage had backed up into the house and the utilities had been turned off. The house was uninhabitable.

While the family had come to the United Way asking simply for gas money to get to work, the staff rolled into action to give them much more.

United Way Rock Up Hill

Staff made phone calls to partner agencies, securing long-term hotel arrangements and job skills training so Dad could find a better-paying job. Mom didn’t have a high school diploma or GED, so child services were put in place that enabled her to enroll in classes to get her diploma so she could also find employment. Staff found the family food and clothing assistance, along with free legal aid to help them navigate their tenant rights for the rental property. In all, United Way provided more than nine referrals to the family.

Life is complicated. One problem is likely connected to many others. It can be hard to see a path to stability when you feel buried by the burdens of the day.

If you’ve ever found yourself in crisis, you know it is hard to see the way out. Maybe you have a support system in place to help you navigate the world — someone who advocates for you and gives you hope. For thousands of people in St. Joseph County, United Way is that support system. United Way supports a network of resources for families who find themselves in crisis.

Your support of the United Way gives families more than just gas money. You are part of a United strategy. You help families thrive.

Notre Dame employees may participate October 21 through December 31. DONATE NOW.