United Way of LaPorte County provides valuable services for our residents right here at home and financially supports many other services provided by other local partners. “We serve as a community backbone to bring people together to solve local problems and reach local goals”, says Kris Pate, Executive Director at United Way of LaPorte County.
This past year, 1300 people who earned less than $61,000 a year, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speaking taxpayers received free state and federal tax return preparation at United Way’s local VITA sites. Many more were able to file through the myfreetaxes.com online site at no cost. This service alone, brought these individuals close to $2M in tax refunds and saved approximately $400,000 in tax preparation fees.
For more than 10 years, United Way has offered a service to people, allowing them save money on prescription medications through the FamilyWize Prescription Drug Discount cards. Over 10,000 La Porte County residents have collectively saved over $1M using this free benefit.
As the number of organizations providing specialized services is on the rise, people find it frustrating and confusing to access community services. United Way 2-1-1 is an easy to remember dialing code to access critical health and human services which are available in the community.
United Way 2-1-1 provides a one-stop service for vital information including medical help lines, crisis intervention, support groups, counseling, rehabilitation, as well as drug and alcohol intervention. It also gives information and makes referrals for health insurance programs, Medicaid, Medicare, maternal health, and children’s health insurance. In addition to United Way 2-1-1 healthcare referrals, screening for health coverage is also available.
Access to these resources is easy. You can either make a phone call or go online. United Way 2-1-1 helps track gaps, duplication, and trends in social services. It is also essential in disaster relief, helping reduce non-emergency calls to 911 by connecting victims, donors, and volunteers with social service agencies. Local funding for this United Way service is provided with help from Duneland Health Council, Unity Foundation, First Source Bank, and other partners.
Here is a local man’s account of how 2-1-1 helped him connect with local services and get back up on his feet again: “Imagine living in a world where you don’t have a roof over your head, where you have limited access to running water and sometimes go hungry. I’m not talking about war, natural disaster or life in a third world country. Such a world exists every day here in LaPorte County. I know because that was my world for a time.”
“Numbers of people for one reason or another end up facing difficult circumstances alone. Life goes on without saying anything to anyone. In my case, I quietly continued to work and attend church while living in a homeless shelter.”
“Our local United Way provided what became my first contact with hope. Their 2-1-1 Resource and Referral Services helps link people in need with services and resources to get them back on their feet.”
“The men’s shelter, supported in-part by our local United Way, gave me a secure place to function and provided living accommodations while I earned money to get into an apartment. I'm forever grateful for this resource, one of many services that are still available to me.”
“You can help further promote this effort by donating to our United Way, advocating for a cause, or volunteering, as I now do.”
“I urge you to step outside your comfort zone and help. Empower and give hope by volunteering or donating at UnitedWayLPC.org. And if you know someone who needs help, encourage him or her to dial 2-1-1. There's nothing better than creating hope.” (John Hubbard)
“The United Way of LaPorte County’s annual fundraising campaign will soon be coming to a close”, Pate said. “If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to share a gift, please consider supporting your local United Way. One in four people in LaPorte County receive some type of help from our services each year; these are our friends, our neighbors, our co-workers, and our family members. Please give generously. Happy holidays from United Way of LaPorte County!”