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UNITED WAY WILL LAUNCH PARTNERSHIP TO HELP ADDRESS COMMUNITY’S SPIKING FOOD AND SHELTER NEEDSSeptember 09, 2011
NASHVILLE, TN, Sept. 9, 2011—United Way of Metropolitan Nashville today launched its 2011 communitywide impact campaign, announcing creation of the United Way Meet The Need Partnership to help address Nashville’s rapidly-growing emergency food and shelter needs – in the midst of a challenging economy.
United Way also began a three-week Days of Action “blitz” to encourage volunteers and companies to contribute basic items such as canned food, personal care items, socks, cleaning supplies, blankets and bedding that will be distributed on Sept. 30 to 38 partner agencies that serve families facing hunger and housing challenges.
The United Way Meet The Need Partnership will be modeled after United Way’s successful Restore The Dream Partnership, which helped more than 1,200 Nashville families in the aftermath of the May floods last year. “The need for food, housing and other basic needs is growing rapidly and we are seeing a spike in those needs as the economic downturn lingers,” said United Way Board Chair Margaret Dolan. “That is why we are drawing upon our experience with Restore The Dream and are in the process of working with a number of service providers to address the crisis.”
Calls to United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline reflected a 33 percent increase in demand for help with basic needs this June, July and August over the same time period last year—from 14,407 to 19,226. Calls to United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline in August requesting assistance with food, shelter and other essentials grew 23 percent from 5,948 in July to 7,273. With unemployment rates remaining high, those numbers will continue to challenge the community because many families have depleted their economic reserves, and are beginning to reach out for help, United Way officials said.
“Organizations such as Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, and Room in the Inn tell us they are experiencing unprecedented levels of demand at a time when many funding sources are reducing the support they make available to these agencies,” Dolan said.
Recently, for example, FEMA eliminated approximately $382,000 that had been used in previous years by more than 30 organizations in Davidson County to help meet emergency food and shelter needs.
“This year is particularly challenging and we believe as these fundamental needs continue to mount, a coordinated communitywide solution is critical,” said Lt. Col. Charles White of Salvation Army’s Nashville Area Command. “United Way’s leadership, as it was with flood recovery, will be critical in our ability to meet these urgent and growing needs.”
United Way announced the partnership and the three-week Days of Action drive in conjunction with its annual campaign kick-off, held at United Way’s offices. Mayor Karl Dean joined United Way Board Chair Margaret Dolan, Campaign Chair Bob Dennis, and approximately 100 community leaders for the launch.
This year’s campaign is the organization’s 90th, and the basic needs drive helps the community celebrate America’s National Day of Service, established two years ago by Congress to mark the anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attack.
Dolan said United Way of Metropolitan Nashville’s goal in this campaign is to engage as much support as possible from the community and create a return on investment that is at least 10 times greater than what United Way invests. “As a nonprofit, our mission is more around impact than it is about money,” said Dolan. “While we don’t have much control over what the economy will do, we do have control in how we invest the community’s gifts and the impact that generosity has on people’s lives.”
United Way of Metropolitan Nashville seeks to impact the education, financial stability and health of Nashvillians through partnerships, innovation and return on investment. Last year the organization produced a direct and identifiable impact exceeding $50 million through its 2-1-1 Helpline, Family Resource Centers, Read To Succeed Program, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program, Restore The Dream Partnership and Outcomes Based Investments.
For additional information about United Way of Metropolitan Nashville, visit http://www.uwnashville.org.
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