Goal: To provide help in times of crisis.
The need: In Berrien and Cass counties, 16.9% of children are food insecure and 887 students were homeless during the 2017-2018 school year
Arlene, 77, lives a happy, active life surrounded by loved ones—but she is one of many struggling with food insecurity in Cass County.
Seniors are especially vulnerable to food insecurity. In the service area of Feeding America West Michigan, a United Way-
funded program, about 46,800 seniors are food insecure. Like many other seniors, Social Security is Arlene’s sole source of income. Although Arlene receives support from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, she is grateful for the resources within her community that help further improve her access to food.
For the last 30 years, an organization called Helping Hands has been providing support for community members in need and served about 1,100 people last year. Arlene, like many other seniors in the area, depends on its senior commodities program, which provides household essentials, toiletries and food staples. Helping Hands also has a fixed pantry that community members can use once a month as a supplement to bridge the gap when money is limited.
Helping Hands also partners with
Feeding America West Michigan, to provide a monthly mobile food pantry for the community. “It takes care of me,” Arlene says.
“We have a lot of seniors that come to this [mobile food pantry],” says Mary Tompi, Helping Hands Director. “I’m not going to let anyone go hungry.”
33,883 people impacted
346,918 meals provided
15,956 individuals served food
19,983 days/nights of shelter provided
1,914 individuals provided shelter or safe environment
Those impacted by United Way…
355 individuals no longer need assistance due to an improved situation
3,764 individuals received emergency financial assistance
375 bills were paid for housing valuing $57,706
1,096 bills were paid for utilities valuing $459,711
764 bills were paid for other needs valuing $887,640
2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that helps people find the local resources they need. To get help, simply dial 2-1-1 to speak with a community resource advisor that can provide you with information and referrals for everyday needs in times of crisis. If you are outside of Berrien and Cass Counties you can call
Every hour of every day, someone needs help. Whether it’s needing help with providing food for your family to job training, 2-1-1 is here.
You’ll find information about:
supplemental food and nutrition programs
shelter and housing options and utilities assistance
emergency information and disaster relief
employment and education opportunities
services for veterans
health care, vaccination and health epidemic information
addiction prevention and rehabilitation programs
reentry help for ex-offenders
support groups for individuals with mental illnesses or special needs
a safe, confidential path out of physical and/or emotional domestic abuse
Whether in times of natural disaster or personal crisis, 2-1-1 is committed to being the first, most essential resource to anyone who needs help.
Call 2-1-1 and speak with a live, highly trained service professional in your area from any cell phone or landline. All calls are private and confidential.
Visit the 2-1-1 website: www.mi211.org