At this moment, we face an unprecedented challenge in our communities. The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has forced schools to close, businesses to shut down and lay off workers, and tremendously increased demand for services to our most vulnerable populations.
Households living under the ALICE threshold are the hardest hit financially. On average, 35% of households in Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties are either living in poverty or qualify as ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE households earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living for the county. These are the hard-working families that are living paycheck-to-paycheck already and cannot afford to stock up on weeks’ worth of groceries and household essentials. They rely on schools to provide meals for their children and care during the day so they can get to work. Right now, these families are struggling.
Emergency Food Response:
The United Way St. Croix Valley has always served our most vulnerable households, and they need our help now. The John Coughlin Food & Resource Center continues to provide healthy food to 20 food pantries, five shelters, and two Mobile Pantry distribution sites throughout Western Wisconsin. We are working hard to help our food pantries, especially in our rural communities, meet the increased demand.
211 St. Croix Valley:
Calls to our 211 Get Connected – Get Help service have seen an increase since the onset of the pandemic, up to 600% at times. We are serving as a trusted partner to our county health departments and medical facilities. Both are directing community members to call 211 for help. Our 211 specialists are assisting people concerned about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to understand emergency orders from the state, connect to nurse hotlines if they have concerning symptoms, or separate myths from facts and access reliable sources of information.
They are also taking calls from small business owners concerned about keeping their employees safe, individuals that need help applying for unemployment, finding programs that offer rent assistance, or getting more info on mental health resources, and families that need help connecting with school lunch programs for their children or finding diapers and formula for their babies.
How You Can Help:
We need your help to continue to provide these critical services in Pierce, Polk, and St. Croix counties! If you would like to help us answer the call and make sure our neighbors do not suffer during this pandemic, please consider making a financial donation. Together, we can make your dollar work so much harder to support our community at this crucial time.
We are YOUR United Way, fighting for the health, education, and financial stability of everyone in our community. Our mission is uplifting people by building relationships, connecting resources and uniting the St. Croix Valley communities. It is in times like these that we show what we’re made of. Together, we will lift our community back up and emerge from this crisis stonger.
Click HERE to donate now. Thank you for helping us make a difference in Western Wisconsin!