Help spread a little cheer this holiday season to the doctors, nurses, patient care technicians, and staff at MidMichigan Health that have worked countless hours for the health and safety of our community this year.
Sign-up with your family, group or company to Adopt-A-Unit and provide a basket or box of goodies for 40-60 healthcare workers at the hospital.
With the challenges of 2020, many families in our community are wondering if they are going to have gifts under the tree this Christmas.
For over 30 years, the Sharing Tree program has been providing joy around the holiday for these families by providing gifts and basic need items to those who need it the most.
Help fill the wishes of more than 3,000 kids and individuals right here in Midland County by contributing to the program. Your donation will help fill any requests that are not filled by our neighbors.
The end is in sight—but it’s not too late to make a difference through United Way. The organization is reporting pledges totaling $4,280,776 raised, or 95% of the overall community campaign goal of $4.5 million.
United Way is encouraging the community to rally together to finish strong.
“With less than $220,000 left to go, we are confident that our community will rally to close that gap and show our neighbors that we are truly stronger together,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “We are grateful for the many individuals and organizations that have risen to every challenge 2020 has thrown at our community. They have demonstrated that care for one another and their collective response is both inspiring and humbling.”
Despite this year’s hurdles of a pandemic and flood, the community continues to show up in impressive ways, often achieving milestones of their own. As their workplace campaigns draw to a close, Three Rivers, Midland County and Ayre/Rhinehart met or exceeded their goals, further highlighting their commitment to the community. This is in addition to all of their work supporting this community through the flood and pandemic in impactful and innovative ways.
Ieuter Insurance—another strong advocate for United Way—also reported outstanding campaign results earlier in the season, adding momentum to the campaign as a whole. In addition to employee giving, they harnessed the creative combination of Jeans Day and the “Change for Change” jar with all proceeds going to United Way
Employees at West Midland Family Center—one of United Way’s partner agencies—did not let this year’s challenges get in the way of their generous spirit. In fact, it encouraged some employees to give even more.
Eric Rodriguez works as a maintenance technician at WMFC. He increased his gift 500% this year, placing him in the top 20% of all WMFC pledges received.
“I increased my gift this year because of all the support WMFC gives me and knowing how much United Way supports WMFC and the community,” Rodriguez said.
As local nonprofits and agencies feel the strain under the increased needs this year, organizations and businesses are rallying to help support these efforts through United Way.
In the case of the Midland Police Department, their giving is helping them get a new look.
The department created “The Good, the Beard and the Pretty” initiative. During the months of November and December, members of the department can pay to grow manicured beards, wear fun colored nail polish or dye a streak of their hair. All proceeds benefit United Way’s campaign.
“The 2020 MPD United Way campaign was comprised of ideas from our patrol officers as well as the new Chief, Nicole Ford,” said Chris Wenzell, Administrative Sergeant of the Midland Police Department. “We try and identify different ways each year to keep our employees engaged in donating to United Way. For our agency, United Way impacts so many of the different groups we work with on a regular basis, such as Ten16, The Legacy Center, Safe & Sound, Shelterhouse and The Arc, just to name a few. These agencies benefit greatly from the generosity of our community.”
Local automotive dealerships are also showing their hearts for the community through their participation in the campaign.
This week, Garber Chevrolet Midland’s General Manager Craig Lang joined campaign co-chairs Rev. Wally Mayton and Sara Eastman for a Zoom interview. He described Garber employees’ hearts for giving. Employees are also enthusiastically paying money to wear jeans on Fridays.
“Garber has been there throughout this year,” shared Miller. “As donated items continued to pour into our community, they graciously lent us box trucks to make moving items to the distribution centers to aid floor survivors.”
Feeny Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram of Midland is also showing their support for United Way. In addition to their strong support for flood efforts, they are running a strong employee campaign proudly display a “We Will Rise Together” sign in front of their business to remind patrons of our community’s strength.
In Midland County, 23% of households are considered ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). Eleven percent are in poverty…and that was BEFORE the pandemic and flood.
As we look ahead, the needs will only grow. Because of our community’s generosity, United Way and our partner agencies assist with barriers standing in the way of already-vulnerable populations.
Be a part of closing the gaps and ensuring our neighbors’ needs are met. Drop off or mail in your contribution soon (United Way of Midland County, 115 Jerome Street, Midland, MI 48640.)
The first time Elizabeth utilized Family & Children’s Services of Mid-Michigan, she was 17-years-old and pregnant.
She was also at a standstill with her parents. They weren’t taking the baby news well.
“My parents were not too happy with me,” Elizabeth said. “They were like, ‘How did my A-plus student with a scholarship to MSU become a pregnant teen?’ They had a hard time with it.”
Wrestling with the idea of their daughter having a baby at a young age, Elizabeth’s parents told her that she needed to put the baby up for adoption. But Elizabeth wanted to keep her child.
She didn’t know what to do—or how to make her voice heard.
In It Together
Elizabeth’s parents contacted Christian Services, who advised them to contact Family & Children’s Services of Mid-Michigan (FCS) to walk alongside the family.
FCS is a partner agency of United Way of Midland County. United Way funds help support FCS services and assists in making these services—like high-quality counseling— accessible to the community.
“We needed family counseling to get on the same page,” Elizabeth said. “At first, my parents went separate from me. Then we went together.”
At FCS, she found the support she needed.
“I felt like someone was on my side,” she said. “There were a lot of decisions to be made and they helped counsel us through.”
Elizabeth said without the intervention of FCS, she would not have been able to use her voice to make the decision to keep her baby.
“I probably would have let my dad bully me into giving up my child, and I would have regretted that,” she said. “My parents and I wouldn’t have gotten back to the great relationship we had.”
She kept her baby. Her son is now almost 30-years-old.
Unwrapping the Layers
During her solo counseling sessions, it was also revealed that Elizabeth had been sexually abused as a child by a neighbor.
“I hadn’t ever told my parents that I was sexually abused,” she said. “Nobody knew. Counseling brought out what happened. My parents gained knowledge that they didn’t have about their child. It gave them tools to make decisions and to see me as a human having another human instead of an awful person.”
Thanks to FCS, Elizabeth was able to change her view of herself.
“I gained the ability to have self-confidence,” she said. “I realized I wasn’t a bad person. I could make better decisions for my child and myself. When my parents found out, I was basically the worst person on the planet. But Family & Children’s Services gave me the confidence to tell them what had happened when I was younger.”
She said without counseling through FCS, her relationship with her parents would be different.
“I don’t think my relationship would be good and I wouldn’t have forgiven them,” said. “They may not have known what happened when I was younger.”
Saving the Future
Nowadays, Elizabeth has served as a volunteer with FCS. She encourages people to call FCS—especially if they were in a similar situation to what she experienced.
“It’s going to be OK,” she said. “You are not a bad person. There are people there who are not going to judge you. They are kind and caring.”
She said the agency helped her find her voice—and their services are needed more than ever.
“Family & Children’s Services is a very, very needed part of the community,” she said. “Unfortunately, people are still assaulted, people still need counseling, and people need a voice. Family & Children’s Services help people find a voice. They are saving the future.”
By supporting United Way, community members can ensure that programs and agencies like FCS have the resources they need to best come alongside our neighbors.
Lives like Elizabeth’s are changed through these United Way partner agencies and programs. We are stronger together.