October 5, 2023

United Way of Pennsylvania

Julie Kennedy's Remarkable PA 211 Story

On September 14th, United Way of Lancaster County’s Associate Director of Community Initiatives, Julie Kennedy (far left), joined senior staff from United Way Worldwide in Washington, D.C., where they facilitated a Congressional Staff luncheon. One hundred participants received critical education about 211 services and discussion around the bipartisan HELP Act (HR 3498 / S1798). In prior months, both 988 and 911 received additional funding from the current administration, which the group applauded but collectively agreed that the 24-hour, 365 day-per-year 211 information and referral service deserves the same consideration. 211 is the number that can ultimately prevent neighbors from having to call 988 or 911. Resource Navigators are informed, empathetic, and fully trained to quickly respond to the escalating needs of the community.

Kennedy’s 211 story is special because she utilized the service before she herself became a 211 Resource Navigator and eventual Associate Director. She states, “I have the invaluable understanding of how it feels to pick up the phone when everything feels hopeless. I was told in rehab that I had to let go of all people, places, and things from my past life. Those parts of my life were false fortitudes of support. No one from my past life cared about my outcomes or my wellbeing.”

When she spoke to a Resource Navigator at 211, she was met with “warmth and compassion”. Kennedy initially called 211 for assistance after completing drug & alcohol rehabilitation at Caron in Wernersville PA. Once she was back in her hometown of Lancaster, PA, she found herself in need of resources to support her recovery. She also needed to find a way to fulfill 200 hours of community service she had accumulated in active addiction. Upon mentioning to the call specialist that she had spent over a decade working in contact centers, she was told that United Way of Lancaster County’s VITA tax service needed individuals to take calls and make tax appointments for community members.

Months after completing her hours with United Way of Lancaster County, Kennedy noticed a job posting for 211. She applied for the position and was hired by the organization in the beginning of 2018. Initially taking the role of Resource Specialist, she was promoted several times to her role today as the Associate Director of Community Initiatives. She credits 211 and the United Way staff for believing in her when she needed it the most. Being able to share her story at the Congressional Luncheon last week, and bringing attention to the service that initiated transformation in her life, created a full circle moment that was celebrated by all in attendance.

UWP's Public Policy Update

On Saturday, September 31st, 2023, Congress passed a short-term funding bill, narrowly avoiding a government shutdown. After weeks of budgetary disagreements, the House of Representatives successfully negotiated a temporary compromise and passed a funding measure with bipartisan support, sending the bill to the Senate, which also approved the measure. President Biden signed the bill Saturday evening, formally circumventing the once looming shutdown and extending funding until November 17th, 2023, when the stopgap measure is set to expire.

The current legislation ensures that many vital programs, such as Head Start, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Women Infants and Children (WIC), among others, have federal funding to continue their work until a final budgetary agreement can be made.

United Way Worldwide and United Way of Pennsylvania will continue to follow this issue closely and will provide updates in future newsletters.

Helpful Resources:

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Did you know that early detection of breast cancer is often key to successful outcomes?

Learn more about breast examinations and mammogram screenings across Pennsylvania below.

Breast Examinations Across PA
Mammogram Programs Across PA

Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month is Friday, Sep 15, 2023 to Sunday, Oct 15, 2023.

United Way recognizes and celebrates the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive history of the Hispanic American and Latin American communities. We encourage everyone to learn more about the importance of National Hispanic Heritage Month by visiting NHHM events near you and visiting the link below.

Happy National Hispanic Heritage Month!

Learn more About National Hispanic Heritage Month

October 10th is World Mental Health Day

Every year United Way celebrates World Mental Health Day! The theme for 2023, set by the World Foundation of Mental Health, is ‘Mental health is a universal human right’.  

United Way of Pennsylvania and PA 211 believe every human being should have access to mental health resources.

To find mental health resources across Pennsylvania click the link below.

Find Mental Health Resources Near You

Find Fall Seasonal Resources Near You

As summer comes to an end, PA 211 knows the anxiety that utility bills, the beginning of the holiday season, and food resources the fall season brings.

Get help with basic needs, holiday resources, and recreational activities for the whole family this fall season with PA 211!

To find resources in your area, click the link below and enter your zip code. Please contact individual agencies to check on program availability.

Find Fall Resources Near You

Reminder to Sign Up Early for Holiday Programs

Did you know that local holiday gift programs traditionally fill up well before the holiday season?

Now is a good time to start looking into available programs, as most of these will not have availability in November and December.

Search local resources by clicking the button below and filtering by your zip code.

Learn About Holiday Resources Near You

Find Your Local United Way

United Ways across the Commonwealth bring people together in purpose. Together we mobilize communities to close gaps and open opportunities for everyone, everywhere. We know improving access to education, health, and family-sustaining financial stability can help all our community members thrive.


This is why local United Ways have volunteerism, workplace campaigns, and financial contribution opportunities, for us all to come together with thoughtful intention to support local solutions in the communities where we live, work, and commune together.


Are you or your company ready to be united in purpose with a local United Way in your area to make a positive difference in your community?


We have just the tool for you!


Find your area's LUW by using UWP's "Find Your United Way" tool below to access information on your local United Way such as ways to contribute, learning about the impact of their work in your community, and upcoming events.

Find Your Local United Way

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

The week of October 22-28, 2023, is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week! NLPPW is a call to bring awareness to our communities on the actions and procedures we can take to reduce childhood exposure of lead.

Help protect a child's life by learning more about the preventive actions you can take to help put a stop to lead poisoning in children's lives by clicking the link below.

Learn More About Lead Poisoning Prevention

Support Your Community

Will you help PA communities improve their financial stability, health, and education? Choose to support your local United Way, efforts to improve life for people who work and struggle to survive (ALICE), or our program to connect people to the help they need (PA 211.) Give, advocate, or volunteer today.

Support Locally
Support ALICE
Support 211
United Way of Pennsylvania
PA 211
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