Closing Community Gaps

Thank Goodness For United Way's Unification

Together with volunteers and donors, local United Way team members and supporters fight for the health, education and financial stability of every resident in the Newtown regional community.

"We seek out Bucks County’s toughest challenges. We work with others to develop strategies that will ensure real, lasting change. Then, we tackle those big challenges in a United Way," says Marissa Christie, United Way of Bucks County president and CEO.

Specifically, this United Way group addresses four major goals:  ending homelessness, fighting hunger, stabilizing families and expanding education.

One United Way program that benefits so many people is called the HELP Center, which stands for "Healthy Eating and Living Partnership." It's a collaboration between UW Bucks and two other nonprofit agencies: Bucks County Opportunity Council and St. Mary Medical Center. Penn Community Bank provides generous support for the project.

Located in Bristol, HELP is an 8,000 square-foot warehouse, distribution center and “shop” for the United Way's gifts-in-kind program. With a commercial loading dock and expansive storage capability, Marissa says the center allows UW Bucks to accept large corporate donations, even full tractor trailer loads, of home goods and consumables.

Beginning in April 2020, she says they received and distributed truckloads of pandemic support from companies such as Colgate-Palmolive, Kimberly-Clark and Cora. Retailers, such as Amazon, Walmart, and Bed Bath & Beyond, regularly donate a range of brand-new items, all of which reach the people who need them most.

Marissa says UW Bucks' partners also use the space for food storage and distribution through food pantries and weekend backpack programs. "Each month, hundreds of new people shop with us for the things they need. For families struggling financially, it's a game changer," she adds. 

To volunteer at the HELP Center or to host a Community Collection for the HELP Center, email Sheri Ratner at sherir@uwbucks.org.

Friends, Music, Beer And A Good Cause

On Nov. 23, starting at noon, is a chance to support a "brewtiful Friendsgiving" with proceeds from the sales of guest taps being donated to UW Bucks for the Holiday Gift Card Drive. This fundraiser at Naked Brewing Bristol, 212 Mill St. in Bristol, collects money so United Way can secure gift cards for tweens and teens. "When money is tight around holidays, it’s often older children that go without," Marissa says. 

Gifts of any amount are deeply appreciated, and UW Bucks representatives try to give each youth $35 for food and clothing.

They will be tapping brews from many Pennsylvania breweries. Live music will be provided by The Dana Collins Project.

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