How United Way Responds to Urgent Needs

How United Way Responds to Urgent Needs

February 7, 2019

Written by Nicole Angresano, vice president of Community Impact at United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County

When the community needs a hand, United Way is here to help.

In addition to investing year-round in local programs and initiatives, our team at United Way responds to urgent community needs with financial and volunteer support when and where it’s needed most.

When temperatures plummeted well below freezing last week, I reached out to our program partners to determine how we could support their critical work. These are nonprofit agencies that provide a safe, warm bed for individuals with no place to stay; nutritious meals to individuals and families in transition; and so much more.

Supporting this community and expanding our shared capacity to respond when the need is greatest is why United Way exists. It is the essence of our mission, and what gets us out of bed in the morning.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors and volunteers, here is how we supported urgent warming efforts during the recent freezing temperatures:

  • Provided hotel vouchers to Waukesha-area shelters to meet increased demand for beds.
  • Supported transportation costs for employees of Walker’s Point Youth & Family Center to get to work on frigid days.
  • Funded a hot meal for residents of Guest House of Milwaukee, a United Way partner that provides shelter, emergency services and support services for men in Milwaukee County without a home.
  • Funded a hot meal for guests of Cathedral Center, a local shelter that provides a safe environment for women and families, when their regular meal site closed.
  • In Madison and Milwaukee, United Way partnered with Lyft IMPACT 2-1-1 and to provide free rides to warming centers.

In addition to this cold weather response, our team at United Way is prepared to meet urgent needs year-round. During the recent government shutdown, we partnered with the Milwaukee Area Labor Council to provide free, hot meals to nearly 200 federal workers. Last winter, our partner CityYear notified us that students at Casimir Pulaski High School were arriving without winter coats, hats, and gloves, so we stepped in with a donation to ensure every student had what they needed. Currently, we are in conversation with our partners for how we can best support SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) recipients when they experience a 50-day gap in benefits in March/April.

To ensure the health, safety, and stability of every individual and family in our community, we must live United. Thank you to all who donate, advocate, and volunteer with us; we cannot have the impact we do -- and the ability to respond to urgent needs in the right way and in the right time -- without you. 

2-1-1 is a central point of access to be connected to information and assistance to regain stability for those struggling with a family, health or social service needs. Sign-up to learn more and help share this crucial resource on 2-1-1 Awareness Day.

Get notified of urgent needs and ways you can help: sign up to be a United Now volunteer.

Mary Lou’s Closet is a year-round supply drive to mobilize basic need items for youth. Learn more.

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