The world is becoming more complex every day, and with it, so are the challenges people face in life. Gone are the days when smaller non-profits could work on their specific missions in a bubble. The homeless are also hungry. A hungry child doesn’t do well in school. Struggling families need help finding good-paying work to keep from being homeless and hungry. And the circle goes around and around, with overlap and gaps in the services provided.

That’s why the United Way of the Lewis & Clark Area is so critical. By providing an umbrella for our 35 partner agencies to work under, we facilitate communication and interaction between the agencies so that efforts aren’t being duplicated, and critical needs aren’t going overlooked.

And the focus of the United Way of the Lewis & Clark Area is local. Our work is tailored to the needs of the people here in Lewis & Clark, Broadwater and Jefferson counties. Money donated to the United Way of the Lewis & Clark Area stays in the Lewis & Clark area, where we can ensure that it goes to help all our friends and neighbors the way they need to be helped, not some one-size-fits-all programs developed in Washington or New York.

By giving to your United Way, you’re helping Good Samaritan keep a family from being evicted, and Helena Food Share to ensure they don’t go hungry. You’re helping Family Promise to house homeless families while Habitat for Humanity ensures that affordable housing is built for them. You’re coming alongside organizations like Florence Crittenton, the Friendship Center, the YWCA and Youth Homes to provide help and support to domestic abuse victims, drug addicts and pregnant teens. You’re helping organizations like the Lewis & Clark Literacy Council and the Career Training Institute to help people in need gain the skills necessary to rise up out of their current situations. And you’re helping organizations like the YMCA, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts to teach the next generation how to be all they can be, so they too can help make this corner of the world a better place to live. For everyone.

The United Way is also there with our 35 partners to serve as a unified voice when new needs are uncovered, ensuring the right people in the right positions provide the right kind of support when and where it’s needed. We’ve got the muscle to cut through bureaucratic red tape and be heard.

But one of our most important functions remains our service as the single go-to hub for the non-profit world in Lewis & Clark, Jefferson and Broadwater counties. That’s why we created the 211 hotline. Frequently when someone finds themselves with a great need, like a lost job or facing eviction or a surprise pregnancy, they don’t have a clue who can help. The United Way is here to point them in the right direction and get them matched up with the help they need.

Won’t you join us in that mission? This year, as you’re pondering how your charitable giving can have the most impact, you can give to one or two worthy causes throughout our community. Or you can give to the United Way, and support them all.