Your generosity changes lives in Bucks County every day!

Early Education Programs

Mackenzie and Jess: 

Jess is recently single. She has one daughter, Mackenzie who is 3. Jess works two jobs and makes around $36,000 a year. This is a little over the guidelines to be eligible for SNAP benefits, childcare assistance, and other programs that could really help her out.

Jess applied for a pre-k scholarship through United Way of Bucks County. Twice in that application Jess said that she just wants Kenzie to be in a safe place while she goes to work.  

Jess had to flee an abusive relationship. Kenzie's safety means the world to her. Jess was fortunate enough to work with a group that helped her and Mackenzie pack up in the middle of the night and leave.

Because of generous donors like you, we were able to provide a partial scholarship for Mackenzie to attend a quality pre-k program - Jess pays the rest.  You see, Jess has the tools to make it, and she desperately needed a new start. Now, she’s able to continue working, and Kenzie is learning and thriving, and most importantly, safe.

Challenges:

  • 73% of Bucks County children who are eligible for publicly funded Pre-K don't get it due to lack of funding.
  • Parents who can't afford early education and childcare can't get to work. When they can’t get to work, they can’t support their kids — or cover things like childcare.
  • Young children in homes with significant challenges (e.g. a parent with substance abuse or mental health issues) are at greater risk of abuse and neglect without outside assistance.

Solutions:

  • Your support provides Pre-K scholarships for low-income families. This helps children get on the path to academic success and helps parents get to work so they can support their families.
  • Decades of research shows that while all kids benefit from early education, low-income kids show the greatest gains. They are more likely to graduate high school, go to college, and be financially self-sufficient as adults than their peers who don’t get help.

Food Access

Emily and Rachel: 

Not every child lights up when they talk about eating vegetables. Emily does. "I love it when we get vegetables for dinner!" she beams.

Emily and her little sister Rachel are elementary school students in Bucks County. They are also food insecure.

These girls know what it's like to go without enough to eat – and without healthy options. Emily explains that when she doesn't get good food, her "body starts to feel really bad."

Fortunately, the girls are now among the thousands of local children who get healthy food through Bucks Knocks Out Hunger and Fresh Connect.

"We're lucky. We got peppers – my favorite – and green beans! And we helped my mom make them!" As she spoke to us, Emily could barely hold back her excitement.

Challenges:

  • 9% of Bucks County residents and 16% of Bucks County kids are hungry or food insecure.
  • Vulnerable populations – particularly children and the elderly – experience serious health issues when they don't get enough to eat and don't have access to nutritious foods.

Solutions:

  • You feed thousands of families in our community through Bucks Knocks Out Hunger and Fresh Connect, our free, mobile farm market for low-income families and seniors.
  • Today, more low-income families have access to healthy food – and understand how to make healthier meals with the fruits and vegetables they receive.
Emergency Help

Albert: 

Albert is a senior who lives alone in an older trailer. His home is paid for, but is in desperate need of repairs. Because he lives on a fixed income, Albert cannot afford any additional expenses.

It was the middle of winter when Albert’s heater suddenly stopped working, and was filling his trailer with a terrible smell.

Albert needed help to make sure his home was safe.

He was able to find assistance through the Emergency Needs Fund to get his heater fixed.

During this process, it was discovered that he also needed major plumbing repairs in order for his heater to pass inspection.

Thanks to your generosity, the Emergency Needs Fund was available to keep Albert in his home, safe and warm.

Challenges:

  • The majority of working families can't cover a $500 emergency. 30% have no savings at all.
  • For low-income working families, a one-time issue can trigger a downward spiral that can end in loss of a job and even homelessness.
  • For low-income seniors living on a fixed income, an unexpected expense is impossible to cover. It can mean skipping medications, missing meals, or living in an unsafe environment, all of which have serious health consequences.

Solutions:

  • You provide emergency assistance with basic needs, like utilities, transportation, and housing.
  • You make sure working families don't end up homeless because of a one-time emergency.
  • Families with financial problems that can't be solved by one-time assistance are referred to more intensive programs, strengthening our local safety net.
Housing Services

Mary: 

It was a damp, chilly morning late last spring. Allen, the Street Outreach worker, got a call. The manager of a motel in Quakertown in Upper Bucks was worried. An older woman had spent the night sleeping outside in a plastic chair. She looked like she was in bad shape. 

Allen rushed to meet her. When he found Mary, she was extremely underweight. She was dirty from sleeping outside. She had severe dental issues. She was incontinent from time spent in a diabetic coma.

She needed help. Badly.

Allen and one of his colleagues fed and comforted the woman. Allen worked the phones and found Mary a place in the shelter. He drove her to the shelter, treating her with compassion, respect, and dignity as they spent that hour together. 

Today she is getting the help and care she needs. She is like a different person. Thanks to you!

Challenges:

  • Locally, homelessness is nearly invisible and therefore hard to address.
  • Every single school district in Bucks County serves homeless children.
  • For many years, the number of homeless people in our community stayed the same, despite many agencies working on the issue. This was, in part, due to a lack of coordination.

Solutions:

  • You provide coordinated "street outreach" for some of the most vulnerable people in our community – those living outside or in their car.
  • You help people go from literally homeless to a permanent home.
  • You ensure that all people are treated with dignity and respect.