United Way divvies up $82K in emergency food, shelter funds

United Way of Whatcom County has allocated $82,000 in federal funds through the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

The nonprofit organization serves as the administrative agent in charge of allocating the funds, which are awarded to each county in the U. S. based on demographics, local employment rates and economic data, and convening a committee of local volunteers to decide where these crucial funds will be granted.

“These funds will provide a much needed boost to local programs who are serving the most vulnerable populations. We’re glad to be a part of making this process possible for Whatcom County,” said Peter Theisen, president of United Way of Whatcom County, in a press release.

For the first time, the program’s funds were distributed to the Northwest Youth Services Positive Adolescent Program, the only housing program in the county that serves homeless teens.

In addition, funds were distributed to the Opportunity Council’s Maple Alley Inn program, which serves healthy hot meals to individuals that are homeless or low-income.  This program has expanded their hours to reach more individuals and to help reduce hunger in our community.

Serving a different population, the Meals on Wheels program through the Whatcom County Council on Aging was given an increase in its allocation from the previous year’s grants in order to ensure delivered meals for isolated and elderly individuals who are not able to prepare meals otherwise.

Other funded programs included a shelter program through the Opportunity Council, support for the YWCA and Womencare Shelter, as well as an increase in funds to the Bellingham Food Bank, which serves all of Whatcom County through several satellite food banks in multiple cities.

The resulting split for funds was 60 percent for food-based programs and 40 percent for shelter-based programs.

More information on United Way of Whatcom County is online at www.unitedwaywhatcom.org, or visit the organization’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/UnitedWayWhatcom.

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