Christine L. Morgan Associate Director, Resource Development United Way Services of Geauga County

Editor’s note: United Way Services of Geauga County is a GCPL partner agency. In this blog post, Christine Morgan discusses the needs of nearly one-third of Geauga’s citizens. In addition to pledge contributions that help people living here, GCPL encourages people who visit our branches to help United Way deliver personal-care items to people in need. Patrons may donate items like soap, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, razors, tissues, and other necessities in the bins at all GCPL locations. 

Most people recognize Geauga County as a wonderful place to live. It has great schools and is recognized as the second most affluent county in the state of Ohio.  It is because of this fact that most people don’t realize there are many Geauga County residents who are living on an economic edge. 

Nearly one-third of this county’s population is living on, or below, what is recognized as a survival budget. This means they earn an income that barely pays for a household’s most basic needs.  Things like food, childcare, rent, and healthcare are all expensive, and far too many of our county’s residents are faced with daily choices that pit paying for a prescription against paying a heating bill. Even some who work 50 to 60 hours a week are coming up short.

These folks are right in front of us: the home health care workers that may care for your parents, the cashiers that work at your favorite grocery store and, sadly, many of the teachers that teach your children.  And, since their income isn’t typically enough to cover all the bills, there is no possible way to create an emergency fund.  This makes for a precarious situation when facing a home repair or health crisis. And saving for college? That’s simply a dream, something that “other” families can do.

United Way is uniquely positioned to connect individuals and families to programs and services that help lead this population toward financial stability. We are investing in programs that address the most critical needs of our residents and create a system for lasting change. 

One such service is our 2-1-1 Helplink, through 2-1-1 United Way offers live help 24 hours a day, every single day of the year, because critical need doesn’t take a day off.

As we enter the holiday season, please consider partnering with United Way Services of Geauga County. We know that the successes achieved are the direct result of generosity from our community. Will you help us to achieve our vision of measurably improving the self-sufficiency of individuals and families in Geauga County?

Chris is currently reading Secrets of the Baby Whisperer for Toddlers by Tracy Hogg.