Each day United Way for Jackson & George Counties improves the lives of men, women and children in Jackson & George counties. Through the work of our 19 member agencies and collaborations with local businesses and programs, we are addressing the critical needs in our community and providing the support and resources needed to solve these issues while creating a better community for all.
Below are some success stories United Way has received from funded member agencies and clients in our local community.
United Way Community Resource Center
Heather and her husband Chad found themselves in financial hardship after facing the premature birth of their daughter, born several weeks early and suffering from mulitple complications. The newborn was placed in Gulfport Memorial's ICU for treatment and observation. During this time, Heather and Chad endured several weeks of commuting from Pascagoula to Gulfport. They spent all day at the hospital with their daughter, forcing them away from work and a steady paycheck. Scared and unsure of how they would pay their bills for the month, the new parents turned to United Way's Community Resource Center for assistance. After meeting with a client representative, the couple was able to receive assistance to pay their rent for the month. Having this financial assistance from United Way during a time of crisis allowed the couple to use the money they were going to pay on their rent and catch up on other bills. It also gave them the peace of mind they needed to continue treatment for their newborn daughter. After a few weeks in the hospital, the daughter was released home and Chad was able to return to work. The couple is now catching up on their bills and taking care of their healthy newborn. They are grateful to United Way and its donors for helping them when they needed it most.
American Red Cross - Southeast Chapter
In the Big Ridge area in northwestern Jackson County, a mother and her three children were at home in the late evening when her 14-year-old son discovered fire coming in the front wall of their mobile home. He woke the rest of the family, and they fled the home. The mother was burned on both arms while getting everyone out and was transported to the hospital immediately. Their mobile home and most of its contents were destroyed. Because the weather was very cold, the family decided to hang a portable light fixture in their dog's home on the front porch to give him some warmth. The light evidently fell down on a blanket in the doghouse and started the fire.
The family was able to move in with nearby relatives until they could make other arrangements. The Southeast Chapter of the American Red Cross was able to provide assistance with food, groceries, clothing, shoes and aquiring cold weather garments. The Chapter also gave them each a quilt donated by Janet's Quilting Bee. The American Red Cross' Fire and Disaster Assistance program is funded through United Way for Jackson & George Counties.
Health & Handicapped Services
Health & Handicapped Services' executive director spoke with a client residing in Lucedale and requesting assistance with diabetic medication. She informed him that she would be at George Regional Hospital the last week of the month and could meet with him to discuss his request. The client had previously had his leg amputated due to a severe infection due to diabetes. Several years earlier, his toes had to be amputated and not being able to get his diabetes under control, they had to do further surgery. After meeting with the client, Health & Handicapped Services was able to assist the gentleman with one month of his medication and a voucher for diabetic supplies. He expects to be approved for Social Security Disability very soon. The client is thankful to United Way for supporting and funding Health & Handicapped Services so that he could get his medicine, help control his diabetes and prevent further surgeries.
Home of Grace
A client of Home of Grace recalls the day she realized she had a problem and needed the help of Home of Grace to overcome her alcohol addiction. After six years living as a "Full Blown Alcoholic," she remembers the night she made the decision to get help and go to the Home of Grace.
"I remember talking to a close family friend about my problems. Those who I thought were friends had walked away. I had to resign from my job as a teacher. I was wasting away to nothing. I drank all my life, but it was like a light switch when I turned 28, now all of a sudden I was out of control," recalls the client.
To say that the decision happened quickly would be an understatement. It happened on a Sunday night with the family saying enough is enough, and by the next morning she was being admitted to the Home of Grace.
After receiving treatment and overcoming her addiction to alochol, the client is taking every opportunity to tell her story. She relishes the opportunity to attend the Home of Grace Support Group, where there is a huge mix of people - some who've been through treatment and some who have not. She is now surrounded by women who can help her grow and for this, she is thankful to United Way for funding the Home of Grace and giving her and others like her a chance to better themselves and overcome addiction.
Gulf Coast Family Counseling
One of the clients GCFC had been working with for several months got custody of her children back from the state. The client had lost custody of her children for neglect. She had been irresponsible and had not properly cared for her children. She was ordered to attend therapy as part of the conditions to have her children returned to her. This client attended therapy weekly. The therapist worked with her to learn how to be an appropriate parent. She was encouraged to work on improving many aspects of her life. She was taught basic problem solving skills, time and money management, goal setting and parenting skills. She had not done well in school, so the therapist helped her find the resources needed to learn the skills she should have learned in school. The therapist worked closely with the Jackson County Youth Court to ensure that all the necessary issues were addressed. This client worked very hard while in therapy and was rewarded with the return of her children. She plans to continue therapy and continue to learn how to be the best parent possible.
Thanks to funding and support from United Way, this mother was able to receive free counseling services and learn the skills needed to be a responsible adult and parent to her children.