Aid requests for assistance up in Valdez area
Valdez Food Bank and Alaska 2-1-1 serve those in need
Requests for food aid, assistance with utilities and other basic needs are up in coastal Alaska according to Sue A. Brogan, the CVA / Vice President, Income Health Impact / United Way of Anchorage.
The increase comes from not only Valdez, but other communities included in the group's Southeast area, which also includes Juneau, Ketchikan, Haines, Hoonah, Angoon, Petersburg, Prince of Wales-Hyder, Sitka, Skagway, Cordova, Wrangell and Yakutat.
"For the first six months of 2015, Alaska 2-1-1 fielded 400 calls and made a total of 538 referrals to residents of Southeast Alaska," Brogan said in a press release issued Monday. "That's 19 percent more calls and 18 percent more referrals than the same period last year. Referrals are always higher than calls because many callers receive multiple referrals for different services."
Alaska 211 is a service available statewide run by United Way of Anchorage that provides free, confidential information and referral for the needy in areas of health and human services.
The Valdez Food Bank is at the forefront of providing ongoing or emergency food assistance in Valdez, as well as limited help with utilities or other financial crisis situations.
United Way of Valdez is a major contributor in not only volunteer time, but in cash donations and food drive contributions.
Anyone needing assistance – or looking to volunteer time or other donations – can call 835-3663 (FOOD.)
The organization also has a website http://www.valdezfoodbank.org.
In other situations, those in need can simply dial 2-1-1 or 1-800-478-2221. It is manned from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m ., Monday through Friday. It is available online 24.7 at http://www.alaska211.org.
Access local assistance online at www.valdezfoodbank.org
Brogan said the data released Monday confirms that the increased demand for support is straining already limited resources.
"Health care and "other" tied for the biggest share of referrals, at 29 percent each," she said. ""Other" includes community services, criminal justice and legal services, education, individual and family services, environment, and public health and safety. Basic needs accounted for a smaller percentage of the total referrals: 21 percent of all referrals in the first six months, compared to 30 percent last year."
The press release said that statewide, calls increased by 18 percent with a 4 percent increase in referrals and 22 percent increase in online database searches for the same time period in 2014.