The season of giving is upon us, embracing all love and joy from family and friends. Thanksgiving gives us a chance to reflect on why we are thankful and wonder how we can contribute more to someone or something in our life. We hope you decide to search for ways to help your community, starting with ALICE – the forgotten families in the margin above poverty but below the basic cost of living in a community.

ALICE stands for A sset L imited, I ncome C onstrained, E mployed and is likely to be someone you interact with daily. According to the 2015 Florida ALICE Report, Alachua County’s median household income is $47,895 and among the 96,427 households, 46 percent were living in ALICE threshold. Typically, this is above the Federal Poverty Level of $11,770 for a single adult and $24,250 for a family of four. However, both sets of households are still below the 2015 Alachua County Household Survival Budget, of $20,208 and $53,064 a year, respectively. The Household Survival Budget includes housing, food, transportation, health care, miscellaneous, taxes, childcare (if applicable), and does not include savings.

It is important to bring light to our neighboring service counties, Bradford, Dixie, Gilchrist, Levy and Union. Back in 2015, Bradford, Levy and Gilchrist had 50 percent of their households living in ALICE threshold, Dixie County being 55 percent, and Union a staggering 70 percent. In Florida, the average ALICE family is below the age of 25, Black or Hispanic, and is a single or cohabiting household.

For this holiday season, United Way asks you to think about the ALICE of your county. If you are interested in giving back to people in need, please donate to the Community Investment Fund, which funds programs that help the ALICE population. If you wish to volunteer, reach out to our VP of Resource Development, Dana Clayton at . Click here to learn more about ALICE.