United Way of Southwest Michigan to aid residents impacted by government shutdown

Published 9:01 am Friday, January 25, 2019

As the longest government shutdown in history stretches on, United Way of Southwest Michigan (UWSM) has launched the Emergency Relief Fund to assist federal employees in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren counties who may be impacted by the ongoing government shutdown.

The fund will address vital needs, such as food, utility assistance, rent, mortgage payments and other basic needs. The fund will make it possible for generous individuals and others who want to help.

To contribute to the fund, visit uwsm.org/emergency-relief-fund or text UWSMrelief to

  1. Check payments are accepted as well and can be made out to “United Way of Southwest Michigan,” referencing “Emergency Relief Fund” in the memo. Checks can be dropped off or mailed to United Way at 2015 Lakeview Ave., St. Joseph, MI 49085. The funds received will be 100 percent applied to those impacted.

Federal workers impacted by the shutdown can visit uwsm.org/emergency-relief-fund for information on how you can receive services. United Way is encouraging federal employees in need of social services to contact 2-1-1 for help.

2-1-1 (or 844-875-9211) is a free and confidential service that helps people find the local

resources they need. For a list of resources in southwest Michigan, please visit mi211.org

or text a zip code to 898-211 to hear from a specialist.

Anna Murphy,  the president of UWSM, said the nonprofit wants to give back to workers.

“UWSM values the contributions of all federal workers in our communities who have supported their neighbors through their work and their philanthropy over the years,” Murphy said. “UWSM is committed to standing by federal workers impacted by the government shutdown in their time of need.”

In addition to the Fund, First Church of God in St. Joseph, Cass District Library in Cassopolis, and

the Van Buren County United Way in Paw Paw is collecting gift cards for federal workers.

Meijer, Walmart and/or gasoline gift cards are preferred.

Drop-off locations:

  • 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Thursday at First Church of God is located at 2627 Niles Ave., St. Joseph.
  • 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Cass District Library is located at 319 M-62, Cassopolis
  • 8:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. Van Buren County United Way is located at 181 W. Michigan Ave., #4,

Paw Paw.

United Way of Southwest Michigan seeks to advocate for people’s health, education and financial stability. By harnessing resources from corporate, nonprofit and public

partners, the nonprofit helps to provide immediate assistance to the most vulnerable populations while addressing the root causes of the community’s longstanding challenges and changing lives for the better. To learn more people can visit uwsm.org.