United Way Donates Baby Formula, Weatherization Kits
Left, pictured with 177 containers of baby formula donated to the Portage County Health & Human Services Department are Laura Pfeil, United Way of
Portage County Community Initiatives Associate; Gary Garske, Portage County Health Officer; Patti Cahill, United Way of Portage County Director of Community Impact; and Melanie Baehr, Portage County Nursing Director. United Way of Portage County recently distributed $5,000 in emergency supplies to local agencies to help families and individuals who may need assistance this winter. (Contributed photo)
For the City-Times
Using half of the $10,000 in funds received from an anonymous donor earlier this year, United Way of Portage County purchased $2,500 worth of baby formula for distribution through the Portage County Health & Human Services Department and $2,500 for weatherization kits for distribution through Energy Services. The remaining $5,000 of the donation was used to purchase diapers for United Way’s “No Child’s Wet Behind” Diaper Drive earlier this year for distribution through Operation Bootstrap.
Patti Cahill, United Way of Portage County Director of Community Impact, said the need for baby formula and energy assistance are some of the top concerns for Portage County residents facing community basics needs. “United Way of Portage County works hard to address the issues of education, income, and health, but it also wants to make sure people who need help at the most basic level are getting the assistance they need,” said Cahill. “By helping people feed their infants and making sure their homes are energy efficient, United Way is hopefully providing them with the tools they need to improve their lives in other areas.”
United Way of Portage County was able to purchase 177 containers of baby formula with the donation. Portage County Health Officer Gary Garske said this donation is welcome, as recent cutbacks in the Food Share program have reduced the number of families the Food Share and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) programs can help. “It will help fill a need,” said Garske.
Melanie Baehr, Portage County Nursing Director, said the formula will be distributed through WIC and Child Protective Services to people identified as needing formula due to a lack of funds. She noted it’s important for infants younger than 1 to receive formula, if breast milk is no longer an option, because it provides the vitamins, minerals, iron and other essentials an infant needs to grow into a healthy child.
Each of the 136 weatherization kits purchased with the donation includes a self-adhesive door sweep, an indoor window insulation kit and an outlet plate insulating sealers pack.
Nancy Zinda of Energy Services of Portage County said the weatherization kits will be distributed to people who have high usage or anybody who has a higher need. “Some people with really high usage have energy bills that exceed the cost of rent,” Zinda said. “It will come in very handy for a lot of people. Not only will it bring down their cost now but it will hopefully prevent people from getting too far behind and getting disconnected this spring.”
Energy Services had 792 requests for crisis dollar assistance last winter, with 546 of them being “emergency” cases in which there was an immediate threat of losing services or life-threatening situations. Zinda said many people Energy Services assists are elderly, disabled, or on a fixed income.
More information about United Way of Portage County, including volunteer and donation opportunities, is available by calling 715-341-6740, emailing [email protected] or visiting www.unitedwaypoco.org.
About United Way of Portage County
United Way is working to inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow by focusing on the building blocks for a better life—education, income, and health. Everyone in the community is invited to be a part of this effort. Give, advocate, and volunteer. LIVE UNITED. To learn more, visit unitedwaypoco.org.