Centraide’s support is important for the young people of our community | News, Sports, Jobs

The quality of a community is often measured by the commitment of the citizens of that community to support their young people. According to the recent 2020 census, one in five children and adolescents in Fort Dodge live in homes that are at or below the poverty line. In total, 60 percent of our children live in families who struggle to pay their basic living expenses for rent, food, transportation, child care, health care, etc. Here are eight ways the United Way of Greater Fort Dodge is working to help our kids.

• Many children are homeless and sleep in a different place each night. United Way provides funding that helps families get affordable housing. Centraide is also helping by providing emergency shelter to homeless families with children.

• Many children suffer from food insecurity. In Fort Dodge, one in six children is food insecure, which means there are times when they are hungry and have little or no access to food. United Way supports our local pantries and we provide food stamps to families in crisis and in need of food immediately.

• Many children sleep on the floor because they don’t have a bed. United Way’s Bridging the Gap program provides beds for children who do not have a bed and who sleep on the floor, on chairs or on sofas. Over the past nine years, United Way has provided over 950 beds for children in need.

• Many children struggle with depression and anxiety. 33% of teens struggle with depression and other mental health issues. United Way provides financial assistance to local mental health providers so that no child is denied mental health services because their family does not have insurance or the funds to pay for the counseling.

• Many families with children do not have a car; transportation is a major challenge for these families. United Way’s Wheels for Work / Wheels for Health program provides cars for families with children who do not have personal transportation.

• Transportation of medical care. United Way’s Hope for Healing program provides gas cards to help underprivileged families who have a critically ill child and need transportation assistance to a medical center in Des Moines, Iowa City or Rochester.

• Prescriptions for children. United Way helps families pay for prescriptions for children when there is no insurance or if families are in dire financial straits and cannot afford a child’s medication.

• Kids clothing. United Way supports programs that provide clothes, coats and other items to children in need. United Way offers goodwill vouchers to poor families to help children and adolescents who do not have appropriate clothing.

• Emergency assistance. Centraide helps families dealing with an emergency or crisis such as a fire, a car accident, the death of a parent or a serious illness of a parent or a child. Low income families facing a family emergency are often in a very desperate situation and can use a friendly helping hand during a very difficult time.

Donations to Centraide can have a real impact and touch hundreds of lives of children in need. 100 percent of every donation stays here in the Fort Dodge / Webster County area to support organizations and programs that help underprivileged children and their families.

Donations to the United Way campaign can be mailed to the United Way office at Grand Fort Dodge at 24 N. Ninth St. Suite B, Fort Dodge, IA 50501. or you can contact us at (515) 573-3171.

Randy Kuhlman is the President and CEO of the Fort Dodge Community Foundation and the United Way of Greater Fort Dodge.

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