With so much in the news about hurricane devastation, it’s important to realize that supporting crisis relief efforts shouldn’t take away from supporting local crisis prevention and other health and social service programs that are in place to assist our community when it’s in need.
In 2005, the Heart of Illinois United Way provided more than $129,000 for local emergency and disaster services—services that help local families and children when a disaster strikes. And that’s just a small part of what United Way does to assist the more than 1,000 people who use our services every day.
The financial need of the United Way’s 47 member agencies is always greater than what can be raised through the annual campaign. Each year, the requested grant dollars are, on average, 50 percent higher than the dollars raised.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to give generously and to find a way to keep up local support. Across the nation, local food pantries, shelters, and nonprofit fundraising events have noticed significant decreases in local contributions. Yet, there are needs to be met here at home.
The 101 programs funded by the Heart of Illinois United Way focus on youth and families; building self-reliance; and promoting healthy lifestyles in a six-county region that includes Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, Marshall, Stark, and Putnam counties.
The number of individuals helped in these counties by the United Way numbers well over 200,000 annually and includes such program highlights as 20,000 students who received health education on topics such as CPR, first aid, and drug abuse; 2,750 calls for help to the Teens Need Teens Hotline; 520 women and children at risk of abuse or neglect received crisis care; 1,100 youth who received after-school tutoring; 151,000 home delivered meals for individuals with special diets; and 2,500 individuals and families who received disaster services.
The United Way and our member agencies hope you won’t forget to support local programs. When we think about how much more gas costs or when we notice an increase in our grocery bill, remember how hard it is for families and individuals in need who have to decide whether to buy gas to get to their jobs, pay for daycare, or buy food for their families. Local needs are still important, and that’s why the Heart of Illinois United Way is here to help our community. IBI