United Way Day of Giving looks to create positive community impact

The United Way of Greater Topeka celebrates its Day of Giving on Wednesday, June 9, with...
The United Way of Greater Topeka celebrates its Day of Giving on Wednesday, June 9, with various community events and a fundraiser for impactful community projects.(UWGT/WIBW)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2021 at 12:00 AM CDT
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The United Way of Greater Topeka and 13 NEWS will team up to kick off the Day of Giving on Wednesday, June 9, at 7 a.m. and includes community programs that are supported through over 24 area organizations. As events and businesses begin to open back up to the community, The United Way of Greater Topeka says the pandemic has exacerbated needs in certain community programs.

The United Way of Greater Topeka says its Board of Directors has agreed to match the first $1,500 donated on the Day of Giving. It also said two donors have agreed to match the first $1,000 donate to any of its Basic Needs projects. Community members can check back on its website on Wednesday to see additional matching gifts to maximize dollars given on the Day of Giving.

UWGT will start the day with a coffee giveaway at 7 a.m. in its parking lot at 1527 SW Fairlawn Rd. It said it will be handing out free cups of PT’s Coffee.

According to the organization, from 10:30 to 11 a.m. it will host a pop-up food distribution and storytime for kids at the Redbud Park in NOTO. It said it will distribute summer meals to USD 501 students and will be joined by the library to present a storytime. It also said kids from Paper June summer camp will be brought over and children from the Topeka Rescue Mission have been invited.

UWGT said from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. it will host a volunteer clean-up day at Pine Ridge Born Learning Trail. It said volunteers will work a morning or afternoon shift to paint playground equipment, install new signs, landscape and more. It said anyone can volunteer and the signup can be found HERE.

The day is meant to promote awareness and fundraising for the programs, which make a positive impact on the community, such as the following:

Community Impact Fund

The United Way of Greater Topeka says donations made to this fund will be applied to projects that are most needed in the community through its Basic Needs, Neary Education On Grade Achievement and Financial Stability programs. It said support for the Community Impact fund will allow flexibility in responding to changes in the community’s greatest challenges, especially following the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A Roof Over Your Head

According to UWGT, this fund will go toward helping those that need assistance with rent and utilities, which remains one of the most in-demand services for its nonprofit partners. In recent years, it said any available aid is gone within the first week of the month.

UWGT said the COVID-19 pandemic has put an even greater burden on the already strained program. It said demand will only increase as emergency restrictions that prohibit evictions and foreclosures are lifted. Many families are also experiencing hardship like job loss it said, and are now left to wonder how they can afford a roof over their heads.

According to UWGT, $2,000 from this fund goes toward rent and utilities for four families that live in an apartment in the community at a time when it is most needed.

The goal for this fund is $2,000 with match dollars available.

Prescription Assistance for Seniors

UWGT said the rising cost of prescription drugs, as well as financial hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and a fixed income, can leave seniors in a difficult spot. It said no one should have to be forced to choose between paying bills or paying for life-saving medicine.

According to UWGT, $1,500 will provide six community members with access to prescription medication.

The goal for this fund is $1,500 with match dollars available.

Speaking Up for the Voiceless

According to UWGT, children victims of domestic violence suffer unspeakable trauma and the job of its community partners is to ensure that they only need to share their story of abuse once. It said once the initial story has been captured, its partners work with law enforcement to ensure the story is stored in a way that is admissible in court. It said partners also begin to connect the child and its family to services in the community to begin the healing process. Through partners’ advocacy, it said the agencies will ensure every child has a voice.

UWGT said $600 will provide advocates for six kids that have been affected by domestic violence.

The goal for this fund is $600 with match dollars available.

Bringing More Than a Meal

UWGT said delivering meals to seniors that live alone or have limited mobility is important. But those deliveries provide more than just food. It said deliveries also provide an opportunity for a senior to connect with another person, critical safety checks for those that live alone and monthly education and enrichment activities to help seniors stay sharp.

According to UWGT, food insecurity in the community has risen exponentially since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has left many looking for food assistance for the first time.

UWGT said $500 will provide 133 community seniors with a prepared meal, safety visit and monthly educational opportunities.

The goal for this fund is $500 with match dollars available.

Celebrating 10 Years of Changing the Odds for Kids in Pine Ridge

According to UWGT, Pine Ridge Prep Preschool is celebrating its 10th year of providing children in the public housing neighborhood with opportunities and access to high-quality preschool education. It said studies have shown that kids that start school behind, tend to stay behind. It said those that receive two years of preschool through Pine Ridge Prep and usually start the program with around 20% kindergarten readiness. Upon completion of the program, it said kids usually test at 80% kindergarten readiness.

UWGT said it would like the community’s help to celebrate a decade of the valuable partnership and make sure it is around for another decade.

According to UWGT, $10,000 will provide two weeks of instruction for all 51 children that attend Pine Ridge Prep.

The goal for this fund is $10,000 with match dollars available. Debra Clayton has agreed to math the first $500 donated to the project.

Parents are the Child’s First Teacher

Babies do not come with a user’s manual, said UWGT, especially when it comes to understanding how they learn and grow. It said home visitation providers help parents understand how their child develops physically, emotionally and academically, as well as offer support, guidance and resource to help kids and parents.

According to UWGT, $1,500 will provide three months of home visitation services for one family in the community.

The goal for this fund is $1,500.

Empowering Childcare Providers

According to UWGT, access to high-quality childcare in the community is impossible without providers that have the tools and knowledge to be successful. It said the fund supports professional development opportunities and business coaching for early childhood providers throughout the community. It said the professional support will ensure that childcare providers are effective and use the latest tools and resources to help prepare children for kindergarten.

UWGT said $1,000 will provide 25 hours of coaching and professional support for childcare providers to improve business and classroom quality, which will give children a better chance to reach their full potential.

The goal for this fund is $1,000.

Keeping Kids on Track

UWGT said research shows that a kid’s chances of making it to graduation begin to decrease as they are no on-grade in reading by third grade, and math by sixth grade. It said time spent in the classroom is not enough for many children to be successful in these subjects. It said out-of-school learning opportunities with high-quality tutoring could be the difference between graduation and dropping out for some children.

According to UWGT, $2,000 will help provide tutoring support for a whole year for two students.

The goal for this fund is $2,000.

School Is More Than Learning

According to UWGT, COVID-19 has shown that school is more than just education for some students, it can also be a safe place, somewhere to get a warm meal, a place to be told you matter and a place to be valued.

UWGT said school-based coordinators ID and work with kids whose success in school could be held back by factors outside the classroom. It said the coordinators connect families to resources from food and clothing to family and academic support.

UWGT said $1,500 will provide one month of school and family support for 19 students.

The goal for this fund is $1,500.

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

UWGT said recent studies show that the number of Americans living just one paycheck away from a financial emergency is on the rise. For many, it said the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the issue. Furloughs, layoffs and other job disruptions have left many families wondering how they will move forward financially.

According to UWGT, one-to-one financial mentors will give community members and families the tools and resources needed to turn their finances around. Its aid with their mentor’s guidance, community members will learn how to pay down debt, establish savings, repair credit and other valuable skills to take charge of their financial futures.

UWGT said $2,000 will support a long-term mentor-mentee relationship for a whole year.

The goal for this fund is $2,000. Azura Credit Union will match the first $500 donated to the project.

A Fresh Start in Life

According to UWGT, for homeless residents in the community, getting a stable job could turn everything around.

UWGT said through an intense 12-week program, unsheltered community members will have the opportunity to learn the basics of applying for a job, such as resume building and interview skills, and then put those new skills to use through an internship with the goal of getting a full-time job at the end of the experience.

According to UWGT, through a network of community partnerships, participants often find full-time jobs that allow them to support their families and make a stride toward financial independence.

UWGT said $2,000 will provide four adults with access to job training and placement in long-term employment.

The goal for this fund is $2,000.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library

UWGT said every child in Shawnee Co., from birth to age five, can enroll in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library for free.

According to UWGT, enrolled kids will get one free book each month, which will result in a library of up to 60 books by the time they start kindergarten. It said access to age-appropriate reading materials is a crucial step for early childhood success.

UWGT said $2,500 will provide five years of books for 15 children in the community.

To signup to volunteer with UWGT, click HERE.

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