United Way of Midland County has partnered with 211 Northeast Michigan to launch a national public service announcement to encourage proactive choices when setting financial priorities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Titled “Keeping Your Family Afloat,” the PSA offers a reminder that resources such the government stimulus check and other resources are designed to help families fulfill household gaps during this challenging time. This is especially helpful for the many hardworking ALICE families (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) who are often one crisis away from poverty and those facing unemployment or underemployment.

“The impact of COVID-19 goes beyond the here and now,” said Holly Miller, executive director of United Way of Midland County. “We want to remind people that resources they have access to now are a supportive boost, but many are one-time only. We have a long road ahead of us. Our hope is that individuals and families have the tools and resources they need for long-term success.”

The PSA centers on a family sailing in a boat. It compares the COVID-19 response to a rainstorm of life factors — childcare, unemployment, rent, etc. — and how this storm can sink the family ship. But the family is proactive, using helpful “buckets” (resources from the government and community) to remove the water and stay afloat until they land on shore under sunny skies, surrounded by the community.

In the PSA, people are also directed to call 211 if they need help. 211 is a free, confidential referral and information helpline and website that connects people to the essential health and human services they need, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“In times of crisis — especially an unprecedented time such as this pandemic — our day-to-day responsibilities like car payments, rent and childcare can feel overwhelming and unmanageable,” said Sarah Kile, executive director of 211 Northeast Michigan. “This PSA reiterates the message that prioritizing and making the best choices financially — rather than the easier choice — can help put families in a much healthier, stable position now and in the future. When our community is in crisis, it is important to know that no matter what, no matter when, 211 is here for you.”

To view the PSA, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YM864Fo4zr0