Living United to Improve Early Childhood Health in Central Jersey

 Every day, people in Central Jersey struggle with health issues that may seem impossible to solve. 

The opioid epidemic. Families who can’t afford medical care for their children. Senior citizens who can’t afford life-saving medicine. Or people who can’t find healthy food nearby. These are tough problems that threaten the future of individuals and communities.  

And it’s just gotten worse during the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has deepened inequities alreadydental evident in the United States. Black communities are disproportionately impacted by the virus. African American deaths from COVID-19 are nearly two times greater than would be expected based on the percentage of the U.S. population. In four states, the rate is three or more times greater. 

That’s why United Way is working to improve health for everyone, in every community we serve. Across a global network of nearly 1,200 United Ways, we’re introducing urban farm stands to neighborhoods in need. We’re fighting for children’s health insurance and helping people save money on medicine. And we’re advocating for, and implementing, health-promoting policies aimed at curbing epidemics. 

Here in Central Jersey our annual summer food drive collects nutritious, self-stable items for food-insecure families at a time when the shelves are empty at many area food banks.  This is even more critical now as the number of children in Middlesex County who do not have enough food has nearly doubled due to the pandemic. Our Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) home visitation program continues to work year-round with low income, first time pregnant women until their child’s 2nd birthday. NFP has proven successful in both the short and long term by ensuring that babies get a healthier start even before birth, by helping mothers take better care of themselves and by helping children grow to adolescence with fewer problem behaviors. Our in-school dental health program in Jamesburg has provided screenings and referrals as well as teaching preschoolers good daily oral health practices.  Most recently we’ve worked to coordinate and promote COVID-19 vaccination clinics in local communities.

United Way impacts 48 million people, including:* 

  • 7.2 million people who participated in physical activity and/or healthy food access/nutrition programs 
  • 4.3 million people who accessed healthcare services and support 
  • 722,037 people who accessed health insurance  

 United Way does more than raise money. We are the problem solvers, the hand raisers. We are the game changers. We surround a community’s most critical problems—and we fight. With our partners—including 45,000+ companies across the globe—we’re offering hope and help where it’s needed the most.

 We are building stronger communities, but there’s still so much more to do. Around the world and in our own backyard, we’re fighting to build jobs and an economy that will fuel a better tomorrow. Find out how to get involved at 

*From UWW’s most recent Global Results Framework, found here 

 published June 30, 2021