United Way grants over $200,000 to local nonprofits

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HANCOCK COUNTY — Three nonprofits serving Hancock County were recently granted tens of thousands of dollars by the United Way of Central Indiana, which awarded $8.3 million to help 63 organizations provide access to basic needs.

Meals on Wheels of Hancock County received $50,000, Hancock County Senior Services received $60,000 and Alternatives Inc. received $100,000 in this year’s round of grants, which were announced June 14.

The United Way dispersed the funds to agencies in seven counties from its Basic Needs Fund, designed to help people access food, housing, health care and transportation.

“To achieve stability, people must first have their basic needs met,” said Mary Jones, United Way’s senior director of basic needs. “These funds support services that help people with life’s essentials.”

Suzanne Derengowski, executive director for Hancock County Senior Services, said the agency is extremely grateful to be included among the latest United Way grant recipients.

“Transportation is one of the basic needs and often a roadblock to success for struggling Hancock County citizens,” she said. “The United Way funding helps support (our) efforts to help Hancock County residents get where they need to go, and we thank them.”

Lynda Kosh, executive director of Meals on Wheels of Hancock County, also expressed gratitude for the influx of financial support.

“We’re always grateful for the partnership we have with the United Way of Central Indiana. We’ve been lucky enough to have been a recipient for a number of years,” she said.

Kosh said a majority of Meals on Wheels clients struggle to get their basic needs met. “These funds will help us to serve that particular subset of the population,” she said.

“Last year we delivered over 34,000 meals in Hancock County, and we made over 18,000 safety checks. This money helps us to be able to feed this very special group of folks who need our help.”

The $100,000 the United Way granted to Alternatives, Inc. — a domestic abuse shelter serving central Indiana — will be used to support the organization’s shelter services.

“The funding will help us be able to have our shelter open and operating, to be able to provide our families with shelter, food and transportation,” said the organization’s CEO, Jonah Lee. “We would be struggling to keep the shelter open without this funding.”

Lee said an estimated one in four women and one in seven men are victims of domestic violence, which makes shelters like this crucial for the safety of them and their families.

“Nonprofits have taken pretty huge cuts this year, and we’re not exempt from that,” she said. “The United Way has always been wonderful to us, not only through grants but by providing training and capacity building, things that don’t necessarily have a dollar value but that are very valuable to us. We can’t thank them enough.”

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