By Lenora Kruk-Mullanaphy

With a mission to improve lives by mobilizing the caring power of the community, the Rappahannock United Way (RUW) continues to be a beacon of light in its response to coronavirus (COVID-19). The RUW works on behalf of vulnerable individuals through “ALICE”—Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed. This represents individuals and families who work but still struggle to make ends meet and have had difficulty affording household basics prior to COVID-19.

ALICE households can’t always pay the bills, have little or nothing to put into savings and are forced to make difficult choices like choosing between quality child care or paying the rent. One unexpected car repair or layoff from work or medical bill can devastate these financially strapped families.

The RUW’s ALICE Assistance Fund covers the cost of these critical needs as the household overcomes its emergency. With the COVID-19 situation a dire one for many families, the RUW answers the call to help bridge the gap to long-term stability.

This year, the RUW has provided $68,000 to 56 households.

There are many other ways the RUW assists in the community, including online tools provided by Intuit and MyFreeTaxes to file taxes for free-—a resource available to all income levels. The organization has the largest, free tax program in the area (www.RUWFreeTAXES.org), which resulted in funneling $2 million back into the community in 2019.

The RUW also offers:

  • Free financial coaching
  • A partnership with FamilyWize to reduce the costs of prescription medications for anyone with or without health insurance coverage
  • Virtual story time that’s hosted by volunteers on the Facebook page
  • A YouTube playlist

Individuals in the Fredericksburg region who are struggling financially by COVID-19 can call 540-538-5801 for help. To donate to the ALICE Assistance Fund, text BETHERE to 41444.