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NEWS & BLOG

News & Blog2020-05-06T07:32:58-04:00

NEWS & BLOG

2107, 2020

Heroes & Hand Raisers: Jennifer Grace

July 21st, 2020|Community Impact, Flood, News|

Community Member Spotlight: Jennifer Grace

“Heroes and Hand Raisers” is a new series created by United Way of Midland County in partnership with Midland Daily News. Each week, snapshots of volunteerism and human generosity—via quotes, photos, snippets and stories—will shine a spotlight on those who are impacting our community by raising their hand to help meet the needs of their neighbors.

Name: Jennifer Grace, Executive Director, Arnold Center

Lives in: Midland

In what ways have you and/or your team donated time, talents or resources? Arnold Center Team Members made and donated: over 2,000 hand sewn masks, over 300 pounds of leafy produce to local food banks, planted and germinated 2,000 vegetable seedlings for the community gardens, served as a transition center for flood relief items (water, clothing, household items), use of our trucks and drivers for transportation of relief items from the DOW Hanger to distribution centers along with the many hours of donated time and additional resources of our dedicated staff.

What inspired you to step up in this way? What drives us every day is our mission to serve. We felt motivated to have an elevated level of service. Our team wanted to make a difference, they wanted to help, and they were proud for the opportunity to do so.

Why is it important for you and/or your organization to raise your hands in our community? It is important for our organization to raise our hands in our community because we are part of the community. It is important to us to support the community that so kindly supports us.

How have you been impacted by United Way of Midland County? The United Way impacts our organization two ways. The United Way provides much needed funding to continue with the important work we do with increase self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities. The United Way also offers our organization support through providing opportunities for us to become involved on a larger scale in the community through building enhanced community partnerships and collaborations, training, networking, and overall support of our mission.

What is your hope for Midland County? Our hope for Midland County is that the all of our organizations stay as connected as we are now. I believe our organizations were able to set aside the barriers that were previously there, prior to the pandemic and flood, to our organizations truly partnering together. I treasure the opportunities that have been offered to have meaningful conversations around serving the community at large and how to support each other.

1707, 2020

Appliance Sale

July 17th, 2020|Event, Flood, News|

(July 17, 2020) In support of helping the people of Midland County, Michigan recover in the aftermath of recent flooding, Whirlpool Corporation is donating more than 400 appliances to be sold at deeply discounted prices on Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 2 at the Midland Mall. All sale proceeds will benefit United Way.

The sale, which is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on August 1 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on August 2, will include brand new Maytag®, Amana®, KitchenAid® and Whirlpool® brand ovens, ranges, refrigerators, dishwashers and washers and dryers. There will also be several KitchenAid® Small Appliances. 

Partnering with United Way of Midland County, Whirlpool is hosting the sale in an effort to help provide useful appliances at accessible prices to those who have experienced flood damage. The entire selection of appliances will be offered up to 50% off the manufacturer’s suggested retail price. 

“We care deeply about the people of Midland and want to help in the recovery,” said Pam Klyn, Vice President, Global Product Organization, Whirlpool Corporation. “I personally have family and friends deeply impacted by the devastating flooding and this is one way we can contribute to the community. Ensuring all proceeds go to United Way helps to support future community efforts as well. Through our long-standing partnership with Dow, Whirlpool Corporation is pleased to do what we can to help our respective communities.” 

The sale will take place at the former Younkers department store in the Midland Mall, 6800 Eastman Avenue. The space is being generously donated by the Mall. In addition, detergent and other household cleaning supplies will be provided with every purchase while supplies last.

Though the event is a way to help those impacted by flood, it is not strictly for flood victims—it is open to the public and intended for any community member who can benefit from these lower prices. Whirlpool and United Way recognize how the pandemic and daily life have created hurdles for many people across the region. The sale is a potential way to help alleviate some of the stresses people are facing. 

“The flood caused over $100,000,000 of damages to Midland County homes alone,” said Holly Miller, president and CEO of United Way of Midland County. “Whirlpool came to us with this generous offer to greatly reduce the price of much-needed appliances as we start to recover. We are beyond grateful to Whirlpool for their willingness to step in to help make these appliances more accessible to those in Midland and across the region.” 

Payment for appliances will be accepted by cash or credit card only. No checks will be accepted. Volunteers will be available to help load appliances into people’s personal vehicles. Appliances can be delivered within a 15 mile radius over the weekend for an additional $100 per appliance. Appliances must be paid for on-site and come with a one-year standard warranty. 

For health and safety precautions, masks must be worn at the sale and social distancing will be encouraged.  

1407, 2020

Amidst a Pandemic, You Showed Up: A Thank You from Holly

July 14th, 2020|Blog Posts, COVID-19, News|

While we continue to wrestle with the aftermath and looming uncertainties that surround Covid-19, there’s much to say and do as we recover from the pandemic’s ripple effects.

Our work is not finished. It’s just getting started.

But right now, we want to pause, take a breath and express our sincere gratitude.

Thank you corporations. Individuals. Organizations. Foundations. Those in our backyard, across the nation and across the world. Countless hearts showed their generosity with hands raised in the air, helping propel us forward through donations of time, talents and resources.

How You Helped

VOLUNTEERING. Over 420 volunteers responded to hundreds of volunteer shifts across the county. Thanks to the outpouring of support from you, Senior Services completely fulfilled their need for Meals on Wheels drivers to deliver meals to our most vulnerable citizens. Volunteers at Midland Public Schools loaded and delivered thousands of pre-packaged for students and families. Midland’s Open Door had numerous volunteers pre-package meals and check in donations. United Way Staff personally helped load food and supplies to fill Salvation Army’s empty food pantry shelves.

And these are just a few examples…there are many more. The volunteer needs continue as our community begins to rebuild. If you want to lend a hand, click here to view volunteer opportunities.

FUNDING IMPACT AREAS. Your generosity provided essential funding that went directly back into our community to support our nonprofits, essential workers and our ALICE (Asset Limited Income Constrained Employed) population.

During the pandemic, one key need identified was meeting the short-term childcare needs for essential workers. Working closely with the Midland County ESA and local childcare providers, we provided temporary funding to licensed providers for families who needed help during the state’s shelter order. Over 45 families and 60 children were served.

United Way was also able to invest in programs that helps meet the needs of our nonprofits. Our nonprofit partners are our community’s lifeline. We provided flexibility with monthly funding and collaborated with the Midland Area Community Foundation to grant nearly $370,000 to local organizations.

United Way worked to tackle food insecurity, providing assistance for 10 food giveaways and helping to restock pantry shelves. Over 200,000 pounds of food were made available to community to meet the increased demand.

Thanks to you, we were able to provide $20,000 worth of housing rent assistance to support people facing eviction or unstable housing. Additional funding also went towards:

  • Technology to help connect people with vital mental health and basic needs through enhanced technology
  • PPE, cleaning and social distancing supplies along with Covid-19 awareness
  • Nonprofit support to help them sustain during the shut-down period and respond to increased demand for vital services

Looking Ahead

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, we anticipate the needs will only grow. Bill payments that once were deferred at the start of the pandemic will return, crashing down like a tidal wave instead of a continuous drip from a faucet. It can feel overwhelming and unmanageable for many—especially on top of daily life demands.

Because of your generosity, we are able to assist with barriers standing in the way of already-vulnerable populations. Our neighbors face daily challenges that have only compounded with Covid-19’s limitations.

Your help provides crucial support to vital programs to improve lives and provides hope in a time great uncertainty. Thank you. We could not have come alongside our neighbors during this critical time without you.

Holly

1007, 2020

Heroes & Hand Raisers: Graham Smith, TCF Bank

July 10th, 2020|Community Impact, Flood|

Community Member Spotlight: Graham Smith

“Heroes and Hand Raisers” is a new series created by United Way of Midland County in partnership with Midland Daily News. Each week, snapshots of volunteerism and human generosity—via quotes, photos, snippets and stories—will shine a spotlight on those who are impacting our community by raising their hand to help meet the needs of their neighbors.

Name: Graham Smith, Assistant Vice President—Treasury Management, Chemical Bank

Lives in: Midland

In what ways have you and/or your team donated time, talents or resources? After initially spending hours assisting people with the immediate recovery of the flood in cleaning out homes and basements, I have tried shifting my focus on my strengths and my position with Chemical Bank to assist with the long term recovery for impacted individuals. Trying to be a part of the continued outreach and information distribution is so important to me. I believe that there is always an initial surge of help when something like this happens, and we cannot let that slow down until everyone is taken care of. Being involved in calling efforts, handing out relief information packets, etc. is the best way to ensure the impacted communities are still engaged. On top of that, leveraging the Bank and the connections here to direct aid in the best, most efficient ways possible. I am so proud of Chemical and TCF Bank’s response to this, between the $250,000 in donations, especially the $50,000 employee relief fund, and the individual response from our team members representing this organization that employs so many people in our community.

What inspired you to step up in this way? As someone who was not impacted directly by the flood, I felt a sense of responsibility to help those people who were. I don’t think I would know what to do if the tables were turned or would have the mental strength to dig out of that mess alone. To be one of the hands out helping this community come back stronger means a lot to me.

Why is it important for you and/or your organization to raise your hands in our community? One of TCF Bank’s core beliefs is to “Care like a Neighbor.” We are all neighbors in this community, whether we live next door or not. Being there to care for this community is what makes it great and will make us stronger when the dust settles from this.

What is your hope for Midland County? Between the COVID-19 pandemic and the flood, my hope is that we have all been given a reminder that we are stronger together. That despite our differences, we can all come together and rise up for the greater good.

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