United Way invests in programs that improve individual and family health, safety and security.
Dental issues can easily become major health issues. The story of one local 5-year old homeless boy is an example of people taking action and working together for a shared goal, in this case, making it possible for a little boy to be pain free so he could eat, play and go to school like any other little boy.
The young homeless boy was having severe dental pain. A representative from his elementary school reached out to the mobile dental team for help. Recognizing the seriousness of the child’s situation, the mobile team was quick to respond and set up a visit to examine the boy at the school. Dr. Raj determined that one tooth had an abscess that required antibiotics and 19 teeth were severely decayed. Because of the extensive amount of work needed, the doctor recommended doing the procedures under sedation in an operating room.
This was no ordinary situation. Because he and his family were homeless, many of the things we take for granted were not available such as reliable transportation, insurance, and refrigeration for medications. The whole team went to work getting him enrolled in Medicaid, coordinating with the school nurse to ensure the antibiotics were refrigerated and administered as directed, and making arrangements to get the mother and child delivered by cab to the hospital for the surgery.
With the coordinated efforts of many partners, all went as planned. Although his homeless status did not change, the much needed health services made it possible for him to become pain free.
Today he eats, drinks, plays and goes to school like any other little boy.
United Way invests in programs that provide access to basic needs.
Food insecurity is a daily occurrence for countless numbers of our community’s youth. Many students know with certainty they will have a meal at breakfast and lunch every day they attend school. But the weekend looms long for these kids and their families. Going without food each weekend leaves them at a disadvantage when they return to school each Monday. Even after the school breakfast, they may still be hungry from lack of proper nutrition over the weekend making them more likely to fall behind in class. One UWWC funded program, Micah’s Backpack provides food in a backpack directly to the children who have been identified by their families, teachers, counselors and others as children who very possibly will not get a decent meal when not attending school on weekends.
Elementary children receiving the backpacks are grateful and they recognize the benefits of the program for themselves and their parents:
“It saves mom some money when she goes to the grocery store so she doesn’t have to buy as much.”“It’s pretty awesome how they actually give you food, because at my house you don’t get good kind of stuff.”“I like that it helps me get healthy.”“I am so grateful for the food it has gotten us through our very hard times.”