December 15, 2016 – In keeping with its goal of making impactful change, the United Way of Nevada County is constantly analyzing where the biggest needs are in Nevada County. Once those needs and gaps have been discovered, the United Way of Nevada County’s Community Impact Committee works on the best way to fill those gaps. One gap, the Community Impact Committee discovered over the past year, is the need to help the struggling poor in Nevada County receive food during hours that they are not at work.
These community members are people that are just struggling to get by. They are constantly dealing with increased rent, increased childcare and increased health care costs. In a report done by the United Ways of California, 4561 households in Nevada County are living below Real Cost measures. Real Cost Measures are measures that estimate the income that is needed to meet the basic needs for a given household type in a community. Food, Housing, Health Care, Transportation, Childcare, and Taxes are all taken into consideration when looking at the Real Cost measures.
Community members that are working and just struggling to get by, that can hardly make rent or pay childcare costs, occasionally need to pick up food from the local distribution agencies. Currently in Nevada County, food is only distributed Monday – Friday during working hours. If they are working Monday – Friday they may not have time to pick up this food. The United Way Community Impact Committee has been analyzing and looking at how to fill this gap. Interfaith Food Ministry (IFM) recently reported to United Way that over 60% of their clients are working, yet they still can’t afford to pay for food.
There is a program in the planning stages for a potential United Way program that would distribute food on Saturdays. Through the collaborative efforts of the United Way community Impact Committee and Interfaith Food Ministry this program could come into fruition in the spring of 2017. Currently collaborations and discussions are happening around the County to help make this a reality. “It is a pivotal time at United Way as we look at starting a program that could have a very big impact on helping to feed those households that are struggling to get by here in Nevada County.” said Megan Timpany, Executive Director of United Way of Nevada County.
During the 2015 – 2016 funding cycle United Way of Nevada County also helped Interfaith Foods Ministry with another need. The organization needed to purchase more nutritious sources of protein for their clients. In the past, other than holidays, IFM has not been able to provide their clients a consistent source of protein, other than milk, eggs, tuna, beans, or peanut butter. They have been able to supply fruits and vegetables, but not a consistent source of nutritious protein. United Way saw the need and allocated $9,000 towards this particular need. The funds awarded to IFM were spent on providing increased access to nutritious lean protein for their clients. Collaborations and communications have started to become much stronger in the area of food insecurity in Nevada County. Together as a community we can make a stronger impact in helping those in need. For more information contact United Way of Nevada County.