United Way of the Coastal Empire has been improving lives in Bryan County for more than 30 years. This organization has partnered with local nonprofits, community leaders, and other community collaboratives to provide Safety Net programs to the most vulnerable in our community.

In 2019, for example, The United Way of the Coastal Empire helped the Queen’s family find a home. “One of the leading causes of homelessness is a lack of affordable housing. Not only are individuals unable to obtain good homes at lower costs, but the expense of moving into such homes is well-above what they’re capable of spending.

“Queen, a hard-working mother of three children, found herself on the brink of homelessness during her transition to a safer environment. The Effingham resident simply needed a home that would provide an adequate amount of space for her family, among other necessities. Unfortunately, she was met with various moving costs that would threaten all prospects of a better living situation.

“I just had to get to a place where I could be sure that my family and myself could be safe and taken care of. I wanted to be in an affordable place that we could all fit into,” said Queen.

“Feeling utterly stressed, Queen felt that it was time to ask for some much-needed assistance—so she called upon United Way of the Coastal Empire.

“I reached out to United Way because I came across some hard times. My family and I were steady at one point, but we hit a huge bump in the road.”

“Fortunately, United Way was able to connect Queen with Effingham Churches United, a network of local churches that have partnered with United Way of the Coastal Empire in Effingham County to best serve the community. Moses Toole, Senior Pastor at Center Pointe Community Church, is proud to have joined forces with United Way, and together they helped this hard-working mom.

Community initiatives lead by United Way include:

  • Partnership for Transformative Housing: which is a homeless prevention program
  • Bryan Prevention and Recovery: which is a substance abuse and support program
  • Upward Mobility: which is a program that helps people reach their full potential by providing programs and services that focus on leadership and childhood literacy skills.

As the pandemic unfolded, requests for assistance increased, and United Way has adapted and changed to try to meet those needs. In 2020, United Way funded 42 programs that served Bryan County residents including:

  • MedBank,
  • Senior Citizens Inc.,
  • Hospice Savannah,
  • America’s Second Harvest,
  • Atlantic Area CASA,
  • Fraser Counseling Center,
  • Consumer Credit Counseling,
  • Neighborhood Improvement Association, and
  • Family Promise, just to name a few.

In 2021, United Way opened its Community Investment funding process for the first time in a number of years to new programs and agencies that targeted some of our highest community needs. 10,072 people in Bryan County were assisted by United Way of the Coastal Empire-funded agencies in 2020. In addition, 870 residents were supported by providing information and resources.

Safety Net:

  • $98,756 in medication cost savings
  • 228 seniors received in-home support
  • $62,237 in COVID Rapid Response rental and utility assistance
  • 171 people with no insurance or who were underinsured received essential services
  • 85 children received counseling and support to reduce the impacts of child abuse

Upward Mobility

  • 41 households received financial counseling
  • 256 girls learned leadership skills
  • 1,726 Preschool, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade students received books to increase early childhood literacy
  • 110 free tax returns completed

If you would like to contribute to the United Way of the Coastal Empire, please visit: https://uwce.org/