United Way of Tucson has awarded
$287,500 to local agencies to-date
with more funds on the way!
United For Southern Arizona
COVID-19 Fund Updates
Your United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona is excited to share weekly updates related to our United for Southern Arizona COVID-19 Fund . This fund is already helping local individuals and families in our community during this critical time of need, demonstrating that your generosity has the power to make a positive impact in the lives of others. Click on the link below to watch a video to learn more about the fund, then read on below for individual stories of impact, volunteer opportunities and other important updates.

Highlights from the past week:

  • Thanks to our amazing community’s generosity and the addition of new donors this week, the United for Southern Arizona COVID-19 Fund has reached $406,087.

  • United Way of Tucson has contracted with the following agencies to provide urgently needed services:
  • Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Catholic Community Services
  • Child-Parent Centers
  • Community Food Bank
  • Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona
  • DIRECT Center for Independence
  • Emerge Center Against Domestic Violence
  • Green Valley Assistance Services
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Higher Ground
  • Interfaith Community Services
  • International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA)
  • JobPath
  • La Frontera
  • Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest
  • Old Pueblo Community Services
  • Our Family Services
  • Pima Council on Aging (PCOA)
  • Primavera Foundation
  • Sahuarita Food Bank
  • Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF)
  • Youth on their Own
  • YWCA
  • (more pending)
  • $287,500 of assistance has already been sent out to our partnered agencies and to people who need help now.

  • So far, nine partner organizations have used funds to fulfill 92 different requests for critical needs. This support has reached 323 people in the Southern Arizona Community, including 138 children. The average amount of support received by household is $526.56.

  • Last week alone, $22,439.40 in support reached Southern Arizona community members in need.

Community Stories
The majority of support distributed to community members this past week has continued to be for housing assistance and food access. Thanks to the generous support of our funders and donors like you, United Way of Tucson has been able to help individuals and families in need in conjunction with our partner organizations. In the past week, we saw an increased demand for utility assistance, which made about 1 in 4 requests to the fund. Utility assistance is being used to help vulnerable individuals keep up with gas, electricity, and water payments. Even though many utility providers are relaxing bill due dates, individuals worry about how they will cover multiple months worth of payments once they do return to work.

Ajo Spotlight
As a rural community that includes adjoining Tohono O’odham tribal members, Ajo and the tribe face special challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. The 3,700 people living in this community normally depend upon supply chains that work most of the time to keep their stores stocked, but COVID-19 has brought on extreme shortages, particularly around food. This issue is exacerbated by the number of residents with high-risk health conditions who are unable to travel and purchase food in other nearby cities but desperately need healthy options. Nonprofit leaders who serve Ajo report that the number of clients seeking local food pantry services doubled in the first weeks of social distancing.

United Way of Tucson and Southern Arizona, with great funding and coordination support from Freeport McMoRan, has brought resources to Ajo to address their needs. One project supporting food access is the Ajo COVID-19 Food Relief Program, coordinated by the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture. With local farmers, restaurants, Ajo Food Pantry, Ajo Community Market, Ajo Unified School District Cafeteria, Pima County Parks and Recreation, and Desert Senita Community Health Center, this program is leveraging donations and local food supplies into emergency food boxes. United Way funds supported 1,000 boxes of fresh produce, dried goods, and other necessities and their delivery during the program’s first week.
Additionally, Child-Parent Centers is reaching out to its roster of Ajo Head Start families to provide meals, food boxes, and other assistance. The International Sonoran Desert Alliance (ISDA) is also delivering support for housing, utilities, health supplies, food, and other critical supplies to individuals in need. And to ensure that young students stay engaged in learning and schoolwork, United Way’s office in Green Valley successfully delivered 1,344 My Summer Library books for 112 children grades pre-K through 2 nd grade to the Ajo Elementary School.

The need for support in Ajo continues to grow: requests for emergency food boxes alone increased 50% in the past week. We look forward to continuing to support the amazing work of Ajo leaders to keep their community connected, healthy, and safe during COVID-19.
Housing and Utility Assistance
From DIRECT Center for Independence: "A father and mother both lost jobs, due to COVID-19, as a dishwasher and housekeeper, respectively. In addition, two adult brothers of the father living in the house also lost jobs in the restaurant business. All four adults are having difficulty securing unemployment benefits. The household includes two grade-school age children, one of whom has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair. These funds will help with the family’s rent, electricity, and phone bills for the month of April, all of which are already two weeks late. This support will allow the family to concentrate on other monthly expenses, such as car loans and medical needs."
Food Assistance
Right now, individuals and families are rapidly running out of funds for food and basic household supplies. The Southern Arizona community is in urgent need of assistance during this difficult time of quarantine, job loss and health concerns. The COVID-19 Fund has gone directly towards helping supply our partner agencies with food to be distributed to the individuals and families most in need.

From YWCA Southern Arizona: "Ophelia is a single parent of two young girls, one 13 years of age and the other 10 years of age. She was laid off from her housekeeping job and is currently only working part-time as a janitor. She says she is grateful she is able to work part-time, but because of that, she does not qualify for any other government assistance. She was struggling to make rent and keep food on the table until she received this assistance for her and her daughters. She is deeply grateful for the compassion everyone at YWCA has shown her, especially as she understands that so many families are experiencing a great need right now."
Family Assistance
From YWCA Southern Arizona: Andrea is a survivor of domestic violence and credits her success to the help she has received from YWCA. She is grateful that she took the domestic violence course; this class opened her eyes and gave her the courage to leave her a very abusive relationship with her husband. Andrea is currently living with her sister as she has nowhere else to go. She has no money and owns nothing, as her abusive husband kept everything. Her sister is currently assisting with expenses, but the family is struggling. Andrea does not want to be a burden and has been contributing to the household by helping with cooking and cleaning around the house, as a gesture of gratitude to her sister and her husband. However, Andrea feels trapped as she can't work. This support will provide Andrea, her sister, and her husband with food assistance.

The Southern Arizona United for COVID-19 Fund is ensuring assistance is provided to those most affected by the crisis. individuals and families need help now and it is only by coming together as a community that we can ensure that all of Southern Arizona survives and thrives after the pandemic has ended. Through this Fund, the YWCA of Southern Arizona was able to help this family stay fed during social distancing.
Volunteer Highlights:
Thank you to all the individuals and companies who have been volunteering and keeping Tucson United during this unprecedented time. A special thank you to FC Tucson Soccer League for sending players out to Higher Ground to help get ready for their renovation. Pictured here is Center Back #33, Kody Wakasa moving boxes and helping to organize, "Service helps us get out of ourselves."
Magdalena Verdugo, CEO of YWCA of Southern Arizona told us yesterday, "Thank you United Way for sending volunteers to help during these tough times. The families are so grateful for the food from the YWCA and the deliveries from the volunteers."

  • Cavett Elementary School: 1 volunteer signed up to deliver 1,104 books to be distributed for free to students.

  • Higher Ground: 2 volunteers from FC Tucson Soccer Club to help mnove items to prepare for upcoming renovation.

  • Virtual Food Drive for Seniors: 4 volunteers signed up for this Food Drive.

  • YWCA Drivers: 20 volunteers were recruited to deliver meals for YWCA families.
Volunteer Opportunities for You:

We need your help to keep
Southern Arizona United
Your support right now is crucial to alleviate the financial hardship many are facing today. For nearly 100 years, your United Way of Southern Arizona has been fulfilling our mission of mobilizing the community to solve real-time problems. Your gift to this fund will quickly support a child, family, or older person with what is essential right now. Together, we can help each other and our community emerge stronger than ever. With our non-profit partners, United Way will continue to deliver emergency services and resources for individuals and families who need help today.  When we LIVE UNITED, we can achieve more than any single entity can alone. When you GIVE UNITED, you can change lives.