The stories of individual people helped by United Way demonstrates the power of a community working together. United Way programs and strategic initiatives have a far-reaching impact; we create systems of change that addresses the root causes of our community’s challenges. Other programs we support provide services and resources that help our neighbors meet their basic needs. Share your experience with United Way and show others how working together truly makes a difference.
See and hear stories our supporters have to share about the their unique connection to our community, the benefits of working together, times of hardship and finding the power to change our community.
To truly make a change, we MUST work together. Now is the time to raise the bar and expect a better quality of life for our neighbors who struggle. If we all give the best way we can, we can make our community the best it can be. There’s a place for everyone at our table – join us and get involved in a way that’s meaningful for you.
Here are some stories of how a program of United Way, Vermont 2-1-1, has helped connect needs and resources. All names and identifying information is changed for confidentiality purposes:
A 74 year old retired service member called on a late Friday afternoon, after struggling with various automated phone numbers. He received a notice that his benefits would end if he did not send in certain review documents. He was living on a fixed income and knew that if he didn’t receive his 3SquaresVT benefit, the weekend was going to be very stressful. He faced the hard choice between paying for medications or paying for food. A Vermont 2-1-1 contact specialist contacted an AHS field services staff member and was able to find out that his review documents had been received and the notice of benefits closure was simply due to a delayed mailing. The contact specialist was able to resolve his concern and report to him that indeed, he would have his food benefit.
Laura called Vermont 2-1-1 to find housing resources. She was turning 56 and, due to recent medical issues that stopped her from working, faced significant financial challenges. She had spent much of her savings and applied for social security disability but was waiting for a decision. As the conversation unfolded, it was clear that she never accessed state benefits such as 3SquaresVT or Seasonal Fuel Assistance, she said, “I think there are plenty of people that are worse off than me.” It wasn’t until the 2-1-1 call specialist explained how the programs worked that she saw them as a possible option to increase her household resources, at least in the short-term.
It was mid-January 2014, during the coldest part of winter. Jeanette called from her mother’s house and reported that her mom was using a kerosene heater to stay warm in one room of the house and that her heating system stopped working. Her mother was in her 80s and suffering from physical disabilities made more painful by cold weather. Janette often dropped in on her to check how she was doing. This was the first time Jeanette had visited in about a week and she found that her mom was freezing, using blankets and even turning on the oven to keep pipes from freezing. When she called Vermont 2-1-1, the call specialist referred them to a program to apply for emergency furnace repair. Janette had no idea such a service existed during crisis fuel months. Upon follow up with the Weatherization program manager, the furnace was repaired and running that same afternoon.