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United Way raises concerns about ‘snowball effect’ of problems for low-income families

BOISE, Idaho—The recent harsh winter weather has hit low-income families particularly hard and United Way of Treasure Valley is asking for community members, organizations and employers to be compassionate, helpful and empathetic.
“The weather has brought many unseen consequences for families who may have a tough time making ends meet and putting food on the table,” said Nora Carpenter, CEO and president of United Way of Treasure Valley. “When the weather causes school closures, many less resource-abundant families may have to choose between staying home with their kids and going to work. These families may also not be able to afford to repair a leaky roof or fix a fender bender caused by this weather.
united way treasure valley boise idaho“At times like these, we want to encourage everyone to do their part and lend a helping hand to a neighbor or co-worker.”
For many in the Treasure Valley, this winter’s struggles and challenges are real. Several local nonprofit organizations, school counselors and school districts’ homeless-student liaisons with whom United Way works closely have reported that families are leaving young children at home in the care of older children or unattended in order to get to work, while seniors who receive delivered meals are missing meals due to weather conditions.
With the school closures, many students of low-income families are also missing school-provided meals. Additionally, many school and neighborhood pantries are significantly depleted, Carpenter said.
“United Way works at the nexus of health, education and financial stability—the three pillars of stable families—and this weather has presented roadblocks to keeping those pillars sturdy for many,” Carpenter said. “Children are missing school and school-provided meals, while many adults have struggled to get to work in these snowy conditions to earn a paycheck and feed their families.
“We want to elevate our compassion as a community and help each other.”
Civic and faith-based groups, organizations and companies interested in collecting goods to replenish school and neighborhood pantries with nonperishable food items, hygiene items, new clothes and shoes for youth are encouraged to drop off items at United Way of Treasure Valley’s office at 3100 S. Vista Ave., near the Boise Airport.
People interested in donating financially may visit squareup.com/store/united-way-of-treasure-valley, an online donation platform specifically set up to allow United Way to funnel donations to provide food, clothing and other supports for local families in need.
United Way also wants to remind people of local resources, including the state of Idaho’s 2-1-1 free resource hotline, which can help connect people to the resources they need. People who are struggling financially may also consider contacting their power company to learn about potential relief programs aimed at helping low-income families manage costly heating bills during the winter.
For more information on how community members can help, contact the United Way office at (208) 336-1070.