During the holiday season, Heartland United Way provides necessities and gift items to individuals experiencing extraordinary needs through two programs – Toys for Tots and Adopt a Family. Individuals who need holiday assistance must get a referral and complete an application to be considered for either program. Referral to the online application process will be adminstered by mass mailing or from social workers at Grand Island Public Schools and the United Way partner agencies by the beginning of November each year. Many area churches also help refer individuals to the programs. If you do not have an existing relationship with a local church or social worker at one of the qualified referral locations, call the Heartland United Way office at (308) 382-2675 for assistance.
Each year, our organization is able to serve the referred individuals and families because of the generosity of our community members and the assistance of local businesses.
Toys for Tots
Heartland United Way works in partnership with the Marine Corp and Salvation Army each year to offer the Toys for Tots program in Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick Counties. Locally, the Toys for Tots program provides holiday gift assistance for children age 12 and under whose parents are not financial able to provide gifts for them during the holidays. Donations of new, unwrapped toys and gently-used books or stuffed animals are collected starting in November at over 50 collection points in and around Grand Island.
Parents whose children are accepted into the program receive a voucher to “shop” for their child’s gift from the donated items. The goal is to collect enough items so each child will receive one toy, a stuffed animal, and a book or game. The Heartland United Way served over 2,000 local children through this program in 2013. All toys donated in and around Grand Island are distributed locally.
To sign your business up as a toy collection point or to volunteer at the distribution, contact the Heartland United Way office at (308) 382-2675 starting in October.
Adopt a Family
The Adopt a Family program allows businesses, community members and organizations to provide local families with food, necessity items and gifts during the holidays. Families accepted into this program are experiencing extraordinary needs due to job loss, health issues, a house fire or other circumstances. Adopters donate gifts to an assigned family based on a description of the family’s biggest needs. In 2013, Heartland United Way connected over 60 local families with adopters through the program.
To adopt a family or provide monetary support or food donations for this program, contact the Heartland United Way office at (308) 382-2675 starting in October.
All families must be referred or nominated by a social worker, church or other agency.
If you know of a family that could use help, please e-mail Bonnie Westfall at email@example.com for more information.