As I reflect on the past year, I am overwhelmed by the outpouring of kindness and generosity the Greater Grand Forks community has shown to families and children served by the United Way. Compassionate neighbors like you, gave your time, energy, and financial resources to where Grand Forks needed it most; services for families facing homelessness or financial hardships.
Building a Bright Future for children and families is at the heart and soul of the workwe are doing here at United Way. Your generosity has allowed us to grow and continue toexpand our services. This year we were able to provide over 100,000 meals to 500 kids enrolled in the Backpack Program. The Families First Emergency Shelter program provided 1,584 nights of shelter to homeless families. 558 children received clothing, hygiene products and school supplies through the Kidz Closet. Together, we are making asignificant impact on the lives of our neighbors.
We are excited for what the next year will bring as we continue to work towards building acommunity where all children and families thrive. This work would not be possible without thesupport of our donors, volunteers, and the Greater Grand Forks Community. Thank you for thekindness that is shown to families working with United Way every day.
Heather Novak, Executive Director
United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area
The United Way of Grand Forks, East Grand Forks & Area was founded as a collaboration ofneighbors, to develop ways to improve ourcommunity. This remains the core value ofUnited Way today.
Since 1957, United Way has been dedicated toproviding our neighbors with opportunities tothrive within the Greater Grand Forks region.Today, we strive to enhance the lives of childrenand families living in our community through aseries of direct service programs including the Backpack Program, Kidz Closet and Families First.
Bernadette began working with United Way’s Families First program in the fall of 2021. She had become the sole provider to three teenage boysovernight after the death of their father. The mother of the boys had preceded the father in death earlier in the children’s lives. With no one else able to care for the boys, Bernadette decided to become a legal guardian and family. Adopting three children created financial strain for the family. Bills began to pile up and Bernadette found herself in a position where she could no longer afford to pay her rent and care for the kids. She was uncertain where she would go if she was evicted from her home; that's when she decided to reach out for help from United Way. “I didn’t know where I was going to go, with these three kids. United Way was the best place to ask for help. If people think that there's nobody out there to help, just ask United Way.”
Bernadette applied for rental assistance and began meeting weekly with her case manager, Brittany, through the Families First program. Together, Bernadette and Brittany filled out applications for housing and food assistance. They worked with her current landlord to allow the family to stay housed there until Bernadette had somewhere else to go. Finally, an apartment within Bernadette’s budget became available. United Way helped assist financially with her security deposit and first month’s rent. Bernadette and her three boys have been in their new home for a little over two months. She still works with her case manager through the Families First program to help her stay on track with budgeting, but she is happy to be able to provide a stable home for her three boys.