United Way directs $2 million to local charities | Social Services

United Way Greater St. Joseph has committed more than $2 million to childcare, mobile meals for seniors, mental health, feeding the hungry, and other social service programs for the coming year.

The $2.39 million is split among 17 United Way partner agencies including InterServ, Salvation Army, and the Family Counseling Center for Behavioral Health.

The Salvation Army puts the money it receives, $35862, toward the Booth Center, which houses homeless families. Major Ron Kee said the money goes toward food, clothing, and other needs for arriving guests.

“A lot of this goes into rent, utilities, and those kinds of things,” Key said. “I think there were (were) at least 20 to 25 families that were permanently housed in the last year.”

Key said he loves the way United Way publishes stories of how partner agencies have helped the community. They do this by interviewing their campaign head with companies and organizations.

Last season’s chair was Tom Richmond.

“I would like to thank every company and every individual who chose to give. I think giving to the United Way of Greater St.,” Richmond said. Joseph is, in fact, a unified way of taking care of our community.”

InterServ received $346,553 in its 2021-22 benefits, and the agency distributes that money to multiple initiatives, including Meals on Wheels, personal meals, child care, housing, and a pantry, among other things.

Danielle Brown is the Director of Human Resources at InterServ and was an ambassador during the past campaign season.

“By serving meals and seniors who come to eat here and at Wesley Senior Towers…we reach between 350 and 400 seniors each month,” Brown said. “If you’d like to get involved in something that helps the community, the United Way Assignments Process is a great way to volunteer.”

The volunteer opportunity that Brown supports is a transparent way to see the impact of charities in St. Joseph.

On an annual basis, 17 United Way partner agencies describe the ways they help the community for their more than 100 volunteers. Next, they recommend the United Way board of directors for investment strategies, according to United Way President Kelly Straw.

For example, CP in northwest Missouri provided volunteer allocations to his facilities and even some children served. Subsequently, the UCP was approved for $158,785.

“What United Way’s partner agencies are doing doesn’t always reach those you might consider to be at risk…(sometimes) it’s mom or dad who needs to go to work and needs good, quality childcare,” Straw said. “Adults with disabilities are the ones who find meaningful jobs through places like UCP and specialty industries.”

Specialty Industries is a 100,000-square-foot warehouse located near US Highway 169 and Leonard Road. It employs adults with disabilities who prepare various items for deliveries such as cat food and tequila.

The warehouse will receive $87,777 from United Way’s allotment.

“Most of the 2021 and 2022 allocations have remained relatively similar, and that was very intentional by our volunteers and our council,” Straw said. “We only raised about $11,000, less than we did last year at this time, and we’re hoping to raise a little more because we know some people donate at the end of the year.”

If more money comes in, Straw said, they’ll look at some supplemental provisions or maybe revise some numbers.

One of the changes this year was that the YMCA received less funding, because the organization has fewer programs since it no longer has a swimming pool or gym. For example, in years past, those facilities required additional funding for basketball tournaments and aerobics classes.

Credit for these local programs are sometimes given to the United Way, although Strough is quick to redirect the focus to community members who deliver during the fall campaign season.

“The United Way is a name that gets left out all the time, but it really relates to the thousands of people and companies that deliver,” Straw said. “I just hope when anyone sees the words ‘United Way’ or our slogan they think, ‘This is me. This is me and my giving. “


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