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Press Release

More than 30,000 Volunteers are Rallying with United Way for Day of Action

Global event, now in its 10th year, focusing on summer nutrition and learning

ALEXANDRIA, VA (June 19, 2017) – More than 30,000 people in over 400 communities around the world are volunteering with United Way to make their community stronger through Day of Action. While each United Way creates meaningful activities centered on specific challenges in their communities, this year’s national focus is on summer learning and nutrition.

Volunteers of all ages will come together to create positive change for themselves, their families and their communities on or around June 21. Last year, 418 United Ways in 50 states and 21 countries mobilized volunteers in their communities on Day of Action.

“People around the world want to get involved and help strengthen their communities,” said Brian Gallagher, President and CEO, United Way Worldwide.  “Day of Action is a tremendous opportunity to harness their spirit and make our communities better places to live and work.  I’d like to thank all of the United Way volunteers and partners for participating during this special day and raising awareness of the impact we make when we work together.”

United Way’s partnership with more than 50 global corporations is essential to creating that impact. More than 600 Staples associates in 31 communities are joining United Way to create and distribute 1,700 literacy kits to children with limited access to books at home. Additional examples include UPS, Target and Wells Fargo, who are engaged in meaningful opportunities that will benefit more than 83,000 people.

Summer is a critical time for children’s academic and physical well-being, but in too many communities, kids are falling behind and going hungry during the summer months. Boosting summer learning – and working with schools, summer programs, employers and other non-profits – is part of United Way’s strategy to help kids succeed in school, work and life. For example:

  • United Way of Berks County (Reading, PA) will be hosting the Big Cheese III that will bring together approximately 1,000 volunteers to assemble 500,000 non-perishable mac and cheese meals.
  • River Region United Way (Montgomery, AL) is providing 275 low-income kindergarten through third grade students with take home backpacks filled with books for a summer reading project. To support the effort, 125 volunteers will also provide one-one-one help with reading at the school library.
  • United Way Mumbai is running a Let’s READ program, a city-wide initiative which aims to nurture a love for reading among children who don’t have access to books. As part of the campaign, over 300 volunteers will read stories and distribute books to more than 1,500 children from underprivileged communities.
  • United Way of Guatemala will be hosting an event with 2,000 children from 21 organizations in a soccer stadium. The event will provide games, food, and a gift for each child.

Summer Learning Loss

Kids who don’t get academic enrichment during the summer often forget what they learned during the school year, experiencing what’s called the “summer slide.” Children from low-wage families slide a lot further, often starting school with a two-month lag in math and a three-month delay in reading. By middle school, these students have lost two full years of learning according to the National Summer Learning Association.

Summer Nutrition

Children lose more than academic knowledge over the summer. For some kids from low-wage families, summer often means the loss of regular breakfasts and lunches. According to a 2012 report from the Food Research and Action Center, six out of seven low-income kids who eat a free or reduced-price school lunch during the academic year do not get a free meal during the summer. Since nutrition and learning are linked, offering free, nutritious meals can boost the number of children participating in summer enrichment programs. 

About United Way Worldwide
United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.8 million volunteers, 9.8 million donors worldwide, and more than $4.7 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. We’re engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide to create sustainable solutions to the challenges facing our communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Read our Annual Report. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited.

Media Contact

Southerlyn Worsham
United Way Worldwide
703-836-7100 ext 321

Christine Sanchez
United Way Worldwide
703-836-7100 ext 564