Andrea Long is a full-time caretaker for her 14-year-old son as her son is unable to walk after an injury from a football game. The caretaker work became an essential part of Andrea’s daily routine.
Andrea is 51 years old and was struggling between hospital visits and piled up bills. ” I played the juggling game” said the single mom.
She searched many assistance programs and realized that if she qualified for one program she wouldn’t qualify for another. It was feast or famine for her. She would either lie above the poverty line or below it.
Andrea and her son had to get out of their home because they were due two months of rent. They moved to southwestern Pennsylvania and that’s when she found the ” United for women” program.
The program is a step taken by the local women leadership council in 2012 to help the women in need. The program is entirely funded by women to support other women in need.
The council raised about $9.3 million last year and helped support more than 1900 women by getting their life on track after a crisis.
United for women program distributes the money it collects to different other local programs such as Southhills interfaith movement’s smart investment. These programs then later help Andrea with her gas bills, rent, and utilities.
Furthermore, Andrea added that she didn’t know how to cope up with the situation and that this program helped her catch up.
Earlier this month the annual fundraising campaign of the women leadership council was started with a speech by Elizabeth Smart who is a victim of kidnapping. Smart was kidnapped for nine months when she was 14 and she was raped daily.
Smart told the attendees that she decided that she would do whatever it would take her to survive. She further added that her decision was tested every single day.
The co-chair of the women leadership council Stacy said that “It’s all about lifting women. Not only do we help these women but we also helo their families and committees.”
The organizers said that they choose Elizabeth to start the fundraising campaign because she is a living example of how the program will help women who are going through any unexpected event or crisis in their lives.
This initiative will have helped about 10,000 women since its startup by the end of this year.