P.O. Box 2477
Hyannis, MA 02601
508.775.4746
Contact Us

Stories

At the Cape and Islands United Way we have a unique, holistic view of the critical issues on the Cape and the Islands. We focus on the whole person, the whole family, and the whole community. This year, we have 39 community impact partners all striving to improve the human condition across the Cape and Islands.

Our Stories — Community Investment Grants In Action:

 

A Caregiver’s Story — HopeHealth

elderly dancing

Gail McCarthy was so exhausted and anxious caring for her husband Paul, who has Alzheimer’s disease, that her friends worried that she might have a mental breakdown. She hardly slept because of her constant vigilance to keep him from wandering or falling. With his disease, there was no telling where he might end up in the middle of the night.

Then Gail, a resident of Dennis, connected with Hope Dementia & Alzheimer’s Services, a service of HopeHealth. One of the program’s social workers visited the McCarthys at their home and began providing regular support and counseling services. The social worker helped Gail understand the disease process and explore better coping strategies. She also assisted her with more practical matters such as health insurance. Gail also has gotten help through support groups and the telephone helpline. Gail, a home health aide herself, says the services have transformed her life and mental health. Thanks to the Cape and Islands United Way and other funders, Hope Dementia & Alzheimer’s Services will serve more than 1,200 caregivers this year.

YMCA — Vacation Meals Program: The Story of an Employee

ymca vacation mealsValerie is a single mother of five living in Mashpee. Working and raising five children alone is a tough job. When Valerie’s children were young, the YMCA vacation meals program delivered nutritional meals to her children while she was at work, and Valerie felt relief knowing that her children were fed. She would go home on her lunch hour to meet the YMCA at her door and distribute the food to her children. Valerie and her children were so grateful to receive services from the YMCA for three years.

In 2014, Valerie was laid off from her job and was out of work for almost a year. This was hard on the family and she and her oldest tried very hard to find jobs. The YMCA remembered the family and successfully assisted both Valerie and her 16 year old daughter in finding jobs. The YMCA hired Valerie as the new van driver for the nutritional meals that were once delivered to her family. They were able to help Valerie’s daughter land a job at the Mashpee Village Spy Camp. Valerie was overjoyed and was especially thrilled to have the opportunity to deliver the meals that she used to receive. Valerie drives the vacation meals van to deliver nutritional meals to a domestic violence shelter, two schools, a church, and the West Barnstable YMCA Day Camp. She also delivers to open sites throughout Barnstable where any child 18 and under can stop by and receive a free lunch. Other delivery sites include two low income housing developments, a library and a church. Meals are also served to the children at the YMCA Camp Lyndon and Mashpee Village’s Spy Camp throughout the summer months. The YMCA vacation meals program was made possible, in part, by the Cape and Islands United Way community investment grant that was awarded to the organization in May of this year.

The Story of Laura and her children — Independence House

Laura has left her abusive husband. She has two young children to support and access to one credit card. She went to the bank to withdraw money from the families’ joint checking account and learned that her husband had withdrawn all of the families’ funds from both the checking and savings accounts. She also discovered that her one credit card has been maxed out and she is now behind on payments for three months.

Laura is emotionally drained from the verbal and emotional abuse she has tolerated for years and is now devastated by the financial control. Laura was able to secure temporary transitional housing, cash assistance and food stamps with the help of Independence House, partially funded by the Cape and Islands United Way. She looking for employment to sustain her family of three while completely on her own. Laura’s experience with financial abuse was one of the many reasons why it was difficult for her to leave her abusive relationship. Laura was forbidden to work, effectively preventing access to financial resources. Laura’s husband also had maxed out other credit cards in her name that she did not know about. Because of this abuse, Laura was in a financial vortex that was overwhelming and emotionally difficult to get out from under. She is learning new skills and developing confidence to handle her own finances. Through Independence House and funds from the Cape and Islands United Way, Laura was able to attend Financial Empowerment Curriculum classes to help her and her family work towards a promising future.