Jackie Wuska at United Way of West Alabama is an Alabama Bright Light in a difficult time

Jackie Wuska at United Way of West Alabama is an Alabama Bright Light in a difficult time
The United Way of West Alabama is ready to assist those in great need during the coronavirus crisis. The agency has a network of helpful nonprofits and can be reached by dialing 211. (contributed)

The United Way of West Alabama is in the business of bringing peace and hope to many.

Many nonprofits are ratcheting up their effort as needs have increased because of the COVID-19 health crisis. The United Way of West Alabama is doing that and a bit more, under the guidance of President and CEO Jackie Wuska.

“At United Way of West Alabama, our COVID-19 efforts include a West Alabama Community Response Fund,” Wuska said. “We are uniquely able to help people in our community because we have the 211 help line 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. When somebody dials 211, they are connected through United Way of West Alabama to a variety of resources, nonprofits and services to help with things like bills and rent.”

United Way of West Alabama helps families stay afloat during the pandemic from Alabama NewsCenter on Vimeo.

Wuska and the United Way of West Alabama board and volunteers get assistance from charitable groups such as the Alabama Power Foundation, which are helping tremendously with the COVID-19 crisis.

“We were so proud to have the Alabama Power Foundation as our first corporate leader to step up and make a major donation to our West Alabama Community Response Fund,” Wuska said. “It’s really been a blessing for so many in our area who aren’t able to work and are having trouble paying their bills and meeting other needs. Together, the United Way of West Alabama and the Alabama Power Foundation have been able to help individuals meet their basic needs.”

Since the COVID-19 crisis began, Wuska has noticed a dramatic rise in the number of calls and needs her office receives each day.

“Our 211 help line calls have gone up over 400% since the COVID-19 outbreak began,” Wuska said. “The needs for the community are increasing. It’s a big challenge in the rural counties where grocery stores are limited, so even those that may not be living in poverty will find that the shelves in their grocery stores are empty.”

Since the start of the pandemic, the United Way of West Alabama has helped 70 families with 170 people and has distributed more than $45,000 to individuals for things like rent, bills and child care. Wuska feels tremendous appreciation for the United Way of West Alabama partners who are stepping up and helping.

“We are so grateful to be able to do the work in our communities, and it just wouldn’t be possible without the support of our partners, especially ones like the Alabama Power Foundation,” Wuska said. “What our partners have done for us is making a difference for all of those having a tough time, especially now with the COVID-19 health crisis. Their efforts are bringing peace and hope to so many.”

Wuska and the United Way of West Alabama will continue their efforts helping folks in the region, in these days of COVID-19 and beyond.

For more information visit, www.uwwa.org.

Alabama Bright Lights captures the stories, through words, pictures and video, of some of our state’s brightest lights who are working to make Alabama an even better place to live, work and play. Award-winning journalist Karim Shamsi-Basha tells their inspiring stories. Email him comments, as well as suggestions on people to profile, at [email protected].

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