With a commitment to bringing back the communities it serves stronger than ever after the challenges of 2020, United Way of Western Connecticut is kicking off its annual Campaign for the Community.
Funds raised through workplace giving and individual donations will benefit the hardworking, struggling people United Way calls ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) who live in Greater Danbury, Southern Litchfield County, and Stamford.
“As with almost everything this year, our Campaign for the Community won’t be the same as in the past,” said Isabel Almeida, President of United Way of Western Connecticut. “The needs of ALICE households are greater and more urgent. But there’s every indication that everyone―from our large corporate supporters to individual donors concerned about their neighbors―is onboard for helping us raise the funds we need to get struggling families on their feet and looking toward a better future.”
Ms. Almeida said many of ALICE individuals and families in the 15-town region United Way serves were hard-hit by the pandemic, having lost jobs or wages, and many are still trying to get back on their feet. The new 2020 ALICE report, released on September 6, shows that even before the pandemic, 38% of people in Western Connecticut had trouble paying their bills.
“By helping our struggling neighbors,” she said, “we can help communities recover from the financial after effects of the pandemic, reimagine how we can work together in the future, and rebuild lives that were turned upside down, overnight.”
Individuals and business owners who are interested in supporting the campaign can go to www.uwwesternct.org/2020campaignforthecommunity for more information on how to get involved.
To accommodate pandemic-related changes in business operations, United Way is offering multiple online giving platforms and virtual volunteer opportunities to make giving back to the community easy and rewarding. Ms. Almeida said that campaign giving can be tailored specifically to the needs of each workplace, no matter how large or small.
“If you’re a small business in our area, or an individual looking for a way to help those who are struggling, especially in the wake of the pandemic, please join us in our efforts to make life better for hard-working people who can’t pay their bills,” she said. Ms. Almeida added that’s it is more important than ever that all community sectors, including businesses, nonprofits, and social service providers, work together to help shore up ALICE workers, who play important roles in our community.
ALICE workers are essential, employed in jobs that required them to be on the front lines, keeping our country and economy going during the economic shutdown. They are grocery store clerks, truck drivers, delivery people, and nursing home aides. They continued working despite the health dangers and the challenges caused by the closing of schools and child care centers. Many other ALICE workers lost jobs and wages as part of the service and transportation industries. They now need help in feeding their families and paying their bills after experiencing long periods of unemployment or lost wages.
To help ALICE, United Way is dedicating its efforts to three key areas:
- Food Security, so that everyone from the youngest children to seniors can have access to healthy food, regardless of their income
- Affordable Child Care, so that parents who are working will have safe places to send their children where they can learn and grow
- Financial Stability, through matched savings and budget coaching programs, so that ALICE workers can start managing their finances and save for the future