United Way of Portage County
2nd Quarter Newsletter - May 2021
$10,000 Matching Gift Challenge!

A generous donor has offered to make a matching donation up to $10,000 to help United Way reach the Campaign Goal. Donations must be received by May 31st to be matched. Your donation will help us aid more individuals and families in Portage County.
Be a part of the challenge, donate TODAY!
News from the CEO, Bill Childers:

May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). NAMI's theme for this month is "You Are Not Alone." They say they will use the time to focus on the value of connecting in safe ways and recognizing it's okay to not be okay.

Mental health is a conversation that has really been brought to the forefront over the past year. Many have spent incredible amounts of time alone and isolated, and the pandemic can be stressful and overwhelming.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says dealing with the pandemic and separating from everyone can increase stress and anxiety. Stress can cause a number of things like difficulty sleeping, increased use of alcohol or other substances, and physical reactions.
The CDC recommends coping with stress by:
  • Limiting your news intake to a couple times a day.
  • Take care of your body -- exercise regularly, eat well, get plenty of sleep.
  • Make time unwind.
  • Connect with others and connect with your community or faith-based organizations.

An online screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition - take a Mental Health Test here.

Here are some local agencies that can help Portage County residents:
  • United Way 211 Info Line - dial 211 from any phone
  • Mental Health and Recovery Board (Kent) - 330-673-1756
  • Coleman Professional Services (Kent) - 330-673-1347
  • Family & Community Services (Ravenna) - 330-297-7027
  • Townhall II (Kent) - 330-678-3006

Schools Supplies Delivered!
UWPC delivered school supplies and hand sanitizer to many organizations, including Stanton Middle School and Camp Carl (both pictured below), in the past few months.

United Way knows that children succeed in school and personal life when they have all the tools, resources and support they need to achieve. We are so happy to make these donations to the school and summer camp.

You can direct your contribution to one of the action areas - Education, Income and Health - or choose all three. As always, we will also process a restricted contribution to qualified 501(c)3 organizations.

You can make change happen with your voice. United Way needs people who are passionate about education, income and health to make some noise.

United Way and Volunteer Centers work with volunteers and local nonprofits to develop the best opportunities for youth, busy working adults and seniors.
Partner Agency Events
05/24/2021 - Junior Achievement Golf Classic @ Shady Hollow Country Club

08/01/2021 - Girls on the Run - Grip It and Sip It

08/06/2021 - Big Brothers, Big Sisters - Golf Outing at Sugar Bush Golf Club

08/07/2021 - Coleman Professional Services - 5th Annual Coleman Cup

09/23/2021 - Coleman Professional Services - Still Right at Home
All-Shred and United Way of Portage County are teamed up for a FREE Shredding Event and Fundraiser on May 1st in Brimfield.
Community members were able to bring their old bills or sensitive documents to be professionally destroyed on site at NO COST!
Monetary donations and nonperishable food items were collected for United Way. Thank you to the volunteers and community members who came to the event.
We received a donation of hand sanitizer from Premalux in Aurora. The Wish brand hand sanitizer is good quality containing 70% Ethyl alcohol. It comes in 40oz bottles and packaged 12 bottles per case. We have a total of 720 bottles! Contact Julia at juliac@uwportage.org if you or your organization needs hand sanitizer.
Community Impact
"Get Connected" - New Volunteer Platform
United Way of Portage County is excited about its new and improved volunteer platform, made possible through a grant from The Giving Well Family Foundation. This new platform is designed to match volunteers with opportunities throughout Portage County. After creating an account volunteers will be able to track their volunteer hours while viewing all opportunities with various agencies in Portage County all on one site. Follow your favorite non-profit and be notified automatically when they list new opportunities or events.
Currently listed are a wide range of opportunities including food pantry volunteer, office/clerical, janitorial, mentorship, building a bookshelf, assembling literacy kits, and more. Interested volunteers can go to uwportage.galaxydigital.com to respond to these needs. Register now to make positive impact on your community!
2021 Day of Caring
Day of Caring is BACK! With plenty of outdoor projects and some indoor projects with room and limited volunteer capacity for social distancing, there are already 9 projects listed with a need for 75 volunteers. Go to uwportage.galaxydigital.com click on the 2021 Spotlight banner to view and sign up as an individual or register your team. Registration closes on Monday, May 24.

If you or your business would like to sponsor the enter, click HERE.

Resource Development
The UWPC 2019-2020 is coming to a close and we hope to be able to make an impact as we continue to fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community. We want to thank everyone for the continued support!

Want to see how your donations help local programs address local issues in our county? Check out our videos featuring a few of our funded partner programs on our  YouTube Channel.

Interested in learning how you or your company can get involved in the giving process next year? Contact Julia Colecchi at 330-297-1424 Ext. 3 or juliac@uwportage.org.

If you wish to donate to the Campaign, visit: www.uwportage.org. Just click the orange DONATE button. Or text GIVEHOPEPC to 44-321.
Special Events
In leiu of our NCAA Party at Ray's Place, we held both a NCAA Bracket and NCAA Squares Fundraiser. Thanks to all of our participants, we were able to raise $5,860!

We are hopeful that the UWPC Golf CLASSIC will be held in late September at Windmill Lakes Golf Club. Be on the look out for more information in the future.

Our Annual Campaign Kickoff will also be held in the fall. Official date has not been set.
Community Funded Programs
All of our funded partners that remain open are following all COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines. Check with each individual program to learn what services are being offered during this time.
Habitat for Humanity of Portage County
The Habitat for Humanity office is open for appointment only with masks mandatory. The Restore is open with masks mandatory and store flow guidelines. Habitat for Humanity helps families build and improve places to call home. They believe affordable housing plays a critical role in strong and stable communities. It costs roughly $75,000 to $100,000 to build a home for a family in need. A $25 donation will pay for a box of nails and a $100 donation will paint a room. Habitat for Humanity has built over 70 homes and helped over 100 families in Portage County.
Center of Hope
The Center of Hope is open! Lunches and pantry orders are available curbside only. Sunday lunches is now offered from 12:30-1:30pm. There will be an extra food giveaway on February 12th. This distribution will include pasta, mac and cheese, canned tuna, canned chicken, cereal and peanut butter.
Volunteers are wearing masks at all times, temperatures are taken upon entry, and social distancing is in place. Volunteers are needed to help pick up orders, stock the pantry, pack and serve lunches, etc. Call 330-297-5454 if you are interested in volunteering.
Kidney Foundation of Ohio
In response to COVID-19, the Kidney Foundation of Ohio's commitment to kidney patients has no changed. Should a patient, family member or friend need life-saving medication, transportation or emergency assistance, please call 216-771-2700.

Volunteer are needed to serve on the special event planning committees and day of the event activities. Please contact the Foundation directly if you wish to volunteer.
Children's Advocacy Center
The Children’s Advocacy Center of Portage County provides a coordinated response to allegations of child sexual abuse.  So that they are not further traumatized during the investigation, children receive specialized interview and medical services in a safe and child-friendly setting. Please don't hesitate to report suspected abuse to 330-296-2273.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, one-to-one mentoring relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters gives children skills that increase their chances of graduating from high school, achieving academic success, setting high goals and stay our of trouble once the school day has ended. New volunteers are still being screened virtually and matches are still staying in touch with each other through phone calls, video chats, etc. If you are interested in a becoming a mentor in the program, go to https://www.bbbs.org/get-involved/.
Kent Social Services
Kent Social Services began their renovations in January of this year. The updates to the building will allow KSS to serve a larger number of our community members who are in need of groceries and hot meals. Currently, Kent Social Services serves over 20,000 hot meals per year in house. Click here to watch a video about the renovations and their capital campaign.

While construction is underway, KSS is still seeking funding to complete the project. You can contribute at fcsserves.org/kss