Childhood malnutrition. Illiteracy. Low-wage career paths. These are just a few of the outcomes families face due to chronic unemployment or underemployment. Choosing between putting food on the table, purchasing medication or buying school supplies is a daily financial dilemma for many parents, one that is avoidable with the right support system in place.
Today, as many as one-third of working Americans do not earn enough money to meet their basic needs, with nearly half of all working Americans earning less than $15 an hour, according to Oxfam America. Still others are without basic health and retirement benefits. Wages have simply not kept pace with the rising costs of housing, healthcare and education, resulting in homelessness, food insecurity and limited schooling, among other crises that threaten personal growth.
You can help individuals struggling to make ends meet. Through United Way, you can volunteer your time and services to programs that support people in your own backyard. Examples include:
- Engage Your United Way: Reach out to your local United Way to learn how you can benefit those struggling to break into the workforce. Your United Way can connect you with community centers in need of volunteers, opportunities for job training, and other local services that rely on the caring power of community members to help people who are struggling.
- Volunteer at a Local Event: Through Project Homeless Connect, United Way connects the homeless with the services they need to get on a better path—from haircuts to financial coaching. Contact your United Way to discover what type of financial events they’re holding.
- Spread the Word: Know of any neighbors in need? Introduce them to the financial tools and programs offered through United Way. Financial support services are just a phone call away through 2-1-1, our 24/7 helpline. You can also ask your United Way about financial education workshops in the community, which are often free.
- Get Your Work Involved: Encourage your employer to host a “career day” for members of the community. You can rent out a local facility or open your doors for a few hours of knowledge sharing. By educating others about your industry, you can spark the fire that might fuel them to land a quality job.
By donating your time or services, you can help remove barriers to housing, education and employment. Just a few hours of your time can give your neighbors the help and hope they need to secure a quality career path and achieve financial stability. It starts with you.