Town Talk: A conversation with Kaycee Childress and Jenna DeHaven – United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley
Royal Examiner. November 23, 2022.
In this Town Talk, our publisher Mike McCool speaks with Kaycee Childress and Jenna DeHaven from the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley. The United Way brings people together from government, businesses, faith groups, nonprofits, and ordinary people to make a difference for people living within our community.
The United Way is raising awareness of a program called ALICE.
What is ALICE?
ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, is a new way of defining and understanding the struggles of households that earn above the Federal Poverty Level but not enough to afford a bare-bones household budget.
For far too many families, the cost of living outpaces what they earn. These households struggle to manage even their most basic needs – housing, food, transportation, child care, health care, and necessary technology.
When funds run short, cash-strapped households are forced to make impossible choices, such as deciding between quality child care, paying the rent, filling a prescription, or fixing the car. These short-term decisions have long-term consequences for ALICE families and all of us.
Who is ALICE?
Despite the critical nature of many jobs to keep our local economies running – educating our youngest children, keeping our ailing parents safe – these workers often struggle to keep their own households from financial ruin.
ALICE is your child care worker, the cashier at your supermarket, the gas attendant, the salesperson at your big box store, your waitress, a home health aide, and an office clerk. ALICE cannot always pay the bills, has little or nothing in savings, and is forced to make tough choices such as deciding between quality child care or paying the rent. One unexpected car repair or medical bill can push these financially strapped families over the edge.
How can I help?
The United Way has a 20 for 40 challenge underway to benefit the ALICE emergency fund. Help the United Way raise $20,000 to help 40 local families with life-changing ALICE emergency funds.
41% of our local population doesn’t make enough to make ends meet. That means that nearly half of our region is working hard but doesn’t make enough to get by. These households struggle to manage even their most basic needs – housing, food, transportation, child care, health care, and necessary technology.
United Way NSV's Kaycee Childress (President /CEO) and Jenna DeHaven (Director of Advancement) sat down with Mike McCool (President of National Media Services) to discuss ALICE Awareness Week and the merger with United Way of Front Royal/Warren County.