Written by Stephen Harris for the United Way of Hunterdon County
ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) has been dramatically challenged this year due to the impact of Covid-19. Before the pandemic, ALICE was barely staying afloat In fact, 22% of Hunterdon households were struggling and another 5% were stuck in poverty The pandemic was the wave that flooded the ALICE boat, with widespread unemployment and lack of access to healthcare.
While a number of programs were offered through the government and nonprofits like United Way, the need was much greater than could be met and government systems were quickly overwhelmed leading to delays in unemployment and other supports. COVID-19 created a perfect storm for ALICE and for many who never expected to be ALICE. People who may have donated to local food pantries were now standing in line seeking food.
The United Way of Hunterdon County joined forces with the United Way of Northern NJ to create a regional ALICE Recover Fund, raising over $800,000 to provide immediate relief to struggling families.
The Recovery Fund was “a huge surprise and blessing” to one young man, who lost his construction job. He contacted the United Way for “answers and help” and appreciated the many people who generously donated to the fund. His story and others can be found here.
A single 55 year-old Mother with an 11 year old daughter wrote “I never imagined that I would ever need to seek out support from either our government, or from a much needed organization such as the United Way.”. She donated through corporate giving drives but “never thought I would be on the receiving end.” The recovery fund has given “some sense of normalcy during this really difficult time.”
These are just a few of the countless stories of United Way and the ALICE Recovery fund making a difference in people’s lives.
Support of ALICE does not end with the Recovery Fund. The United Way of Hunterdon County provides viritual financial seminars, one-on-one financial coaching, and an upcoming Power Up to Thrive workshop. When ALICE thrives, we all thrive.