Support for ALICE

May 10, 2021

Decades ago, I struggled as a single working mom of two toddlers, but motivation and support from people who believed in me led to a position of escalating responsibility for 29 years at a large pharmaceutical company.  Working now with Pocono Mountains United Way (PMUW) provides me the opportunity to give a ‘hand up’ to others who are struggling.

43% of Monroe County households are considered ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed). ALICE families have household incomes above the Federal Poverty Level, but below a basic cost-of-living threshold. These people are our family, friends, and neighbors – working seniors and adults, working families with children, and truly just about everyone in low paying jobs. Many are currently working hard as cashiers, childcare providers, cleaning staff, and in other roles essential to every community’s success, but who struggle to survive on what these jobs pay. Unfortunately, with 58% of PA jobs paying less than $20 an hour, their wages are not keeping pace with housing, food, healthcare, childcare and other necessities.

Pocono Mountains United Way focuses its efforts on the ALICE population, who recently have had another obstacle in their path to stability.  In an area heavily reliant on tourism, ALICE families have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. I participated in PMUW’s Crisis Response Fund Committee to help meet ALICE’s unexpected needs arising from increased unemployment and childcare challenges that resulted from school closings.  The community joined in both the fundraising and Committee roles; as of April 2021, over $100,000 was raised and dispersed for food, utility assistance, daycare scholarships, and much more.

The Crisis Response is only one of dozens of initiatives at Pocono Mountains United Way.  Please join us in efforts to promote the health, education, and financial stability of ALICE families in Monroe County. United, we can make a difference. I do believe what Morrie Schwartz said, “…The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you…”

Grace D’Amico
Board Vice Chair, Pocono Mountains United Way

To learn more about and advocate for ALICE in our community, please visit www.poconounitedway.org/get-involved/

To support the work of Pocono Mountains United Way, please visit https://poconounitedway.org/make-donation/