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MAKING A MARK: United Way of the Virginia Peninsula launches Community Assistance Network

As communities come out of the pandemic, more people and families need help with recovery. The 'United We CAN' program aims to help them get back on their feet.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The United Way of the Virginia Peninsula is launching a program to battle hardship and promote self-sufficiency in the community.

"We are better together when we're connected in kindness, and this is our best opportunity to do that," said Charvalla West, the organization's COO and community impact director. 

"While there are resources, services, and programs available in the community, it's oftentimes challenging for people to connect to those in a way that is meaningful and has a lasting impact," said West. "We started with a community needs assessment and recognized poverty as a pervasive issue that impacts so many different areas of our lives and impacts every single one of us."

The nonprofit’s program, ‘United We CAN' (Community Assistance Network), creates community partnerships to help low-income people and families.

"The Community Assistance Network is a robust and diverse collective of organizations providing human services, from emergency basic needs to ongoing case management and even financial assistance," said West. "We employ advocates who work one-on-one with households, we complete a universal intake and screening to know exactly what they're eligible for. But we also make relationship-based referrals."

West says the program not only aims to provide relief for people facing financial challenges, but guide them toward stability and personal growth.

"We set out with a goal of moving people out of poverty-- not just addressing the critical, urgent needs related to poverty," said West. "If there's ever been a time for us to come together, it's now to make sure that the resources that we have have the most impact and reach our most vulnerable neighbors."

'United We CAN' officially launches Thursday, July 1. If you live on the Peninsula and need help with recovery or would like to become a community partner, call 757-229-2222 or click here.