United Way works for a healthier America
Whether it is a neighbor without health insurance, a victim of abuse, or someone struggling with mental illness or an addiction, United Ways are working to ensure everyone has access to affordable and quality care.
- More than 33% of children and adolescents are overweight or obese. That’s 25 million kids and teenagers.
- Children with health coverage are better prepared to learn in school and succeed in life.1
- The number of Americans without health insurance has increased steadily since the beginning of the century, now totaling about 47 million. More than 80% are working families.2
- 8.7 million children live without health insurance – more than the total number enrolled in the first and second grades in U.S. public schools.3
1Institute of Medicine. From Neurons to Neighborhood: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington DC: National Academies Press, 2000.)2Employee Benefit Research Institute estimates from the March Current Population Survey, 2007 Supplement.3Compiled by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center (SHADAC), University of Minnesota School of Public Health, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey 2007.
United Way has been working to achieve our bold, 10-year goal: to increase by one-third the number of youth and adults who are healthy and avoid risky behaviors. United Way of Hood County has been instrumental, locally, in working towards this goal. The challenges of mental health and substance misuse prevention in youth and adults remain key areas of focus, as identified in the 2019 Community Needs Assessment as in the top 3 priorities. Facilitating a transportation system that will enable individuals to access routine medical care is also an immediate goal.
Medical and dental care:
UWHC has been a long-time partner with Ruth's Place Clinic, which provides medical, dental, and vision services at no cost to the patient. Laboratory services are provided at very minimal cost, on a sliding scale. The clinic also provides assistance with submission of applications for free and discounted medications, directly from the manufacturer. Diabetis support and respite care programs are also available as auxilliary programming with area churches.
Our partner, Hood County Cancer Services provides assistance with transportation, prescription costs, counseling, and an array of other supports to patients and family members who have encountered a cancer diagnosis.
Healthy Lifestyles and food pantry programs:
The Hood County 4H programs engage young people and encourage healthy eating, exercise, and general fitness. Community food pantries support the food insecure with healthy eating options (Mission Granbury, Rancho Brazos, and Ruth's Place Community Centers) by offering healthy recipe suggestions utilizing distributed food, encouraging healthy, low-cost meal preparation at home and gathering as a family around the dinner table. Neighborhood community centers feed warm meals to school aged children and have even implemented drive-thru service and delivery for pantries, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic challenges.
The Hood County Committee on Aging provides not only well-rounded meal options via Meals On Wheels delivery, but also a congregate meal setting at the "Senior Center", where elderly find support and friendship via dancing, games, and activities. Meals on Wheels volunteer drivers are oftentimes the only visitors that these clients have, so these opportunities not only provide food, but also serve as a welfare check and reminder that this generation is not forgotten.
Mental health & substance misuse prevention:
Primarily funded by federal grants, the Hood County Substance Abuse Council (HCSAC) has made significant progress in the past ten years in the realm of youth substance misuse prevention. Actively involved in area schools, community centers, YMCA, and other programs, the HCSAC provides education and supports: healthy alternatives to substance use, the Teen Court program, parenting classes, and other programs work in collaboration with multiple other partners. STAR Council on Substance Abuse also provides similar services and counseling to adults battling substance misuse and addiction.
It is a priority goal to continue to partner with proven programs that provide mental health support. As the 2020-2021 COVID-19 pandemic has shown, the increased stress, isolation, and uncertainties have been directly correlated with an increase in substance misuse, child abuse and neglect, and spousal abuse. We, as a community, will continue to support the Paluxy River Children's Advocacy Center, Mission Granbury, and others who work to tirelessly to help.
Working to change policies and practices, such as extending health care coverage, providing mental health resources, and prevention programs, we will enable more people to live healthier lives.