At United Way of Story County (UWSC), we believe that when we are United together, we can find solutions that make long-lasting, positive change in the lives of individuals and families, which is why our 2018 LIVE UNITED Campaign theme is “In order to live better, we must LIVE UNITED.” Because when we LIVE UNITED, everyone wins.


United Way fights for the health, education, and financial stability of everyone in our community. This month we are focusing on how your dollars fund programs that allow affordable and accessible health services for all. This week, we will spotlight a few programs that ensure everyone has access to healthy, nutritious food.


When you think about eating healthy, transportation probably isn’t the first factor that crosses your mind. But for a large population of people in our community, that is the first barrier they face. Heartland Senior Services (HSS), in partnership with Mary Greeley Medical Center (MGMC), offers a well-balanced hot lunch to seniors throughout Story County who are unable to make food on their own or drive to purchase it themselves. Meals are prepared by the Dietary Department at MGMC and delivered by trained HSS volunteer drivers. From last August to July, almost 25,000 meals were delivered to local seniors.


For those who do have transportation, HSS also offers a congregate meal program called the Friendly Lunch Bunch at their location in Ames. Seniors can easily take part in the lunch by calling Heartland by 8:30 a.m. on the day they would like to attend. They are served the same meal as the Meals on Wheels program, but get to enjoy it in the Heartland cafeteria with their friends. For a suggested donation, participants benefit from a healthy meal as well as social and emotional experiences through conversations and activities. Over 4,000 meals were served since last August.


Seniors not being the only community members who struggle to have access to healthy food, Good Neighbor Emergency Assistance offers Healthy Food Vouchers that provide county residents with $30 worth of vouchers per calendar quarter. The vouchers allows them to purchase nutritious food items at nine grocery stores throughout Story County. This includes stores in Ames, Nevada, Story City, Huxley and Slater. In the past year, over $40,000 worth of nutritious food was purchased using Healthy Food Vouchers.


As we strive to have a community where essential services for healthy lives are affordable and accessible to every person, know that your United Way donation is being put to work in making nutrition available to all. From delivered meals to making healthy choices easier to afford, United Way funded programs are giving those in need a way to live a healthy life.


For more information on our health initiatives, please visit our website at uwstory.org or call our office at 515-268-5142.