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Warming children this winter

The cost of everything families need is rising – another blow to the 1 in 3 Bartholomew County residents who already struggle daily to meet their children’s basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter.

A sponsorship from First Financial Bank to United Way is helping meet the winter needs of families in our community who are coping with the rising cost of living.

First Financial Bank awarded $7,000 to the Student Support Line to buy children winter clothing.  

The Student Support Line was established during the 2nd semester of the 2017/2018 Bartholomew Consolidated School Corporation (BCSC) school year through their Counseling Counts initiative. The Counseling Counts initiative is strong, but there was still a missing need to ensure children's basic needs were met. A partnership began between United Way of Bartholomew County and BCSC where faculty can contact the Student Support Line with specific needs students have.

More and more children are being helped through the Student Support Line. For example, this school year (August 2023 – Present), the Student Support Line has received 70 contacts from BCSC staff requesting assistance for students in need. This number is up significantly from last school year (August – May), when the line received 106 contacts total.

First Financial Bank’s generosity will help ensure that contacts that reach out for warm winter clothing will have the need met.

Providing winter clothing to vulnerable children is critical in United Way’s mission to support children in and out of the classroom and to ensure everyone in our community has the resources they need to reach their full potential.

Children without the proper winter gear are put at a disadvantage to their peers. The biting cold is not just uncomfortable; it poses a serious threat to their health, well-being, and overall development.  Consider all the ways First Financial Bank’s gift helps children in our community:

Protecting Against the Cold:

Vulnerable children, including those living in poverty or in homes where their parent’s household budget doesn’t meet, are more vulnerable to the elements. Exposure to extreme cold can lead to illnesses like hypothermia and can exacerbate upper respiratory sickness, which can have severe consequences, especially for children with compromised immune systems.

Promoting Physical Health:

Winter coats act as a crucial barrier against the harsh elements. For children, maintaining good physical health is fundamental to their growth and development. Adequate winter clothing not only shields them from the immediate dangers of the cold but also contributes to their overall well-being.

Ensuring Educational Continuity:

For many children living on the edge, access to education is already a challenge. The winter season exacerbates this difficulty as the cold weather can deter children from attending school. By providing them with warm coats, we can help create a conducive environment for learning, ensuring that the pursuit of education remains uninterrupted even during the coldest months.

 Addressing Emotional Well-being:

Winter assistance goes beyond physical health; it extends to the emotional well-being of vulnerable children. Living in harsh conditions without proper winter gear can be emotionally distressing. By providing warm clothing, we send a powerful message of care and support, instilling a sense of dignity and self-worth in these children.

Breaking the Cycle of Poverty:

Poverty often creates a cyclical pattern where limited resources lead to compromised health, education, and future opportunities. Winter assistance programs that provide coats and clothing are a stepping stone in breaking this cycle. By addressing immediate needs, we empower vulnerable children to focus on long-term goals and aspirations.