Introducing the new
United Way of Collier and the Keys 
On April 1, the merger of United Way of Collier and the Keys was finalized. 
We are excited about what it will mean for the Keys and our residents. Already, we are seeing the benefits of this partnership.

Debbie Mathews Finch, United Way of Collier County Board Chair and Maria Jones, United Way of the Florida Keys Board Chair, said in a joint statement, “As we look to the future, our mission will be collaboratively improving the lives of paycheck to paycheck ALICE residents, in both Collier and the Keys.” Debbie Mathews Finch will serve as Board Chair in the new organization and Maria Jones as Vice Chair.

Leah Stockton, who has been named Florida Keys Area President with the new organization, said, “Our United Ways have a history of working together on common projects and shared best practices during times of disaster following Hurricane Irma. Through the collaboration that has already occurred and the past year of productive discussions between both boards of directors, we have already begun sharing many internal operations allowing us to better respond to the pandemic in both counties immediately.”
Coronavirus Response in Monroe County
Additional Funding for COVID-19
Responding to the greatest need ever seen in our community, as part of UWCK’s pledge of up to $100,000 to serve hard-working, paycheck to paycheck residents in the Keys who are affected by COVID-19’s economic consequences, additional funding of $30,000 was disbursed in April. Funding included:

  • $15,000 to expand capacity for food pantries at Keys Area Interdenominational Resources (Marathon), Burton Memorial Church (Tavernier), and First Baptist Islamorada Church (Islamorada).
  • $15,000 to provide limited emergency financial assistance for residents who have lost their income as a result of the pandemic via Florida Keys Outreach Coalition (Lower and Upper Keys) and Keys Area Interdenominational Resources (Middle Keys).

Residents should contact these organizations directly for assistance, or see details in the online Community Resource Guide at KeysUnitedWay.org/CommunityResourceGuide
A volunteer fills a bag for food distribution.
In partnership with UWCK, Ocean Reef Community Foundation and Farm Share, Fishbusterz delivers to 10 Keys locations providing free food.
ALICE in Crisis
COVID-19 Relief Fund
Thank you to everyone who has already donated for COVID-19 relief, including the following corporate partners.
COVID-19 Food Distribution Events
In collaboration with Feeding South Florida, Monroe County, and the Ocean Reef Community Foundation, United Way of Collier and the Keys announces that a free drive-through food distribution will take place at Big Pine Key Dog Park on Thursday, May 7th from 12:00 to 2:00pm . Traffic will flow in only one direction--please use Wilder Road and turn Left onto South Street, then exiting onto Key Deer Blvd.  

The food distribution is available to all who have lost income as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and multiple families may be represented in each vehicle.  

Other food distributions and hot meals are happening every day throughout the Keys community. For more details, visit the food section of our COVID-19 resource guide .
Food is delivered in bulk...
...volunteers break it down into smaller portions...
...and load it into vehicles.
Credit: food event photos by Rahn Clayton
Reemployment and SNAP
Application Assistance
UWCK is facilitating information and assistance for residents who are trying to enroll for Florida unemployment or SNAP food benefits. 

  • For residents filing for reemployment, we compiled “Links and Tips for Unemployment Assistance
  • Residents needing assistance with the paper application will be routed to a United Way volunteer to help walk them through the process
  • This volunteer assistance is also available for residents needing SNAP food benefits 
  • Residents needing assistance with either paper application may email ApplicationAssistance@KeysUnitedWay.org 
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to vulnerable citizens, we have cancelled our in-person VITA tax preparation dates indefinitely.

We are now offering a Virtual VITA preparation option, for those with simple returns who meet the income requirements. Please visit our web page at KeysUnitedWay.org/vita2020  for more information.

We are also referring clients to  MyFreeTaxes.com .  Through United Way’s partnership with H&R Block, every household with a simple return can file their federal and state taxes for free.
Giving Tuesday Now
We're united with our global community for #GivingTuesdayNow. 
We believe that generosity has the power to unite and heal our community in this time of crisis. Visit K eysUnitedWay.org  to learn more and join us in making a difference.

Together, we will #LiveUnited 
New ALICE Report
Florida's latest ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Report was released today.

The Household Survival Budget now drills down into detailed local-level estimates on costs such as food and transportation, where only broader data was previously available. Using this data, the ALICE Survival Budget for a family of four increased from $68,916 to $84,432 since the last report (an increase of 22.5%). Once again, Monroe County has the highest survival budget in Florida.

In the Keys, the highest ALICE percentages are found in the communities of Stock Island (52%), Marathon (47%), and Tavernier (49%). 

Read more ...