Employee contributions to United Way help local agencies serve

October 23, 2013  

Local organizations like Lafayette Transitional Housing Center Inc. help families get back on their feet every year thanks to support by the United Way.

“Without them we would not be able to help people transition from homelessness to housing,” says Ed Dunn, board president for LTHC and a Purdue employee.

United Way helps community members improve their lives through focus on education, income and health. The United Way campaign at Purdue promotes this mission through local UW participating organizations including Lafayette Transitional Housing Center Inc., Read to Succeed and the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. 

LTHC serves the Lafayette community through housing programs, a food pantry and the Homeless Services Program. United Way contributions support 25 percent of the funding for these programs, which help provide for the homeless in a variety of ways.

“These funds pay for the overall operations of the programs,” says Jennifer Layton, executive director of LTHC. “We have 60 units of housing, and these dollars go towards utilities, case management services and direct needs for the client.”

United Way also benefits the Read to Succeed Program. This program brings volunteers into elementary school classrooms one hour a week to help students read at their grade level. According to Amy O’Shea, education associate for United Way of Greater Lafayette, more than 500 volunteers travel to 15 Tippecanoe County schools to participate in this program.

Volunteering with the Read to Succeed program is rewarding for Linda Ray, a Purdue employee, because she gets to see the metaphorical light bulb click on for children she is helping.

“All kids need to have support,” she says. “Many kids don’t have that at home. Read to Succeed helps to bridge that gap.”

In the VITA program, Purdue student volunteers have contributed to increased success. VITA helps individuals and households with incomes less than $50,000 by providing them with free tax preparation. In 2013, more than 35 Purdue students volunteered to help with this program, contributing to the $1,365,234 VITA refunded locally.

“Many working families are eligible to receive certain tax credit,” says Jennifer Million, income associate for United Way of Greater Lafayette. “These tax credits provide refunds that are critical for families working paycheck to paycheck and making ends meet. Most people use the money they receive from the tax credits and fee savings to help pay their bills, rent or mortgage, food, clothing or to build up their savings.”

United Way of Greater Lafayette supports these programs, as well as many others as they work toward improving the lives of people in the community. The United Way campaign at Purdue is actively involved in these programs through both monetary contributions and volunteer support.

“There are many in our community feeling the effects of this tough economy,” says Dale Whittaker, 2013 Purdue United Way chair. “Our generous donors and volunteers continue to do all they can to support those in need through supporting the services and programs of our local United Way. United Way continues to stretch every dollar to fulfill needs where state and federal resources are dwindling, allowing our community to remain strong and healthy. In fact, United Way of Greater Lafayette is one of the most efficient in the state. We urge our colleagues to send in their pledge with these local needs in mind.”

United Way pledge cards should be turned in to team captains by Nov. 13 or to Purdue United Way/Dauch Alumni Center by Nov. 19. Donations can be made via check, credit card, quarterly pledge or payroll deduction to either United Way or any of the individual programs they support. New this year, donations also may be made via credit card or PayPal by visiting www.uwlafayette.org/givenow-purdue.html.

Hannah Harper, harper4@purdue.edu

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