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Nonprofits partner to offer essential services to Midlands families

Published: Nov. 29, 2021 at 5:26 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - During the pandemic, people are still struggling to get through. Whether it’s getting a job or simply finding a ride to a doctor’s appointment. It can be a real challenge.

A new partnership is helping create a directory connecting non-profits to people who need their service.

Monique McDaniel, with Goodwill Industries in South Carolina, is working to get people back to work and has helped close to 11,000 people gain employment every year.

“We’re averaging about 29 people, every business day that hears you got the job,” McDaniel said. “Sometimes you just need someone to say, hey, I’m giving you a hand up. And so I’m going to help you get to the next level of where you’re trying to go. And so Goodwill has always prided ourselves on that.”

McDaniels says they saw fewer job seekers last year compared to prior years. As many of them were looking to switch careers and trying to figure out their next steps.

She says its centers like Goodwill provide space and service for people who need help.

“We believe that people can be independent and live a prosperous life. And so our goal is always workforce development. How do we get more people placed in livable wages?” McDonald said. “How do we expand opportunities in partnership, Unite Us fits right into our mission.”

It’s through a new partnership with Unite Us that Liz Walsh is hoping to connect more people with non-profits like Goodwill by finding them crucial services like transportation assistance, locating food pantries, employment, housing and other services.

Walsh is an agent with Unite Us and says more South Carolinians could use the help right now.

“Folks usually face challenges navigating services, because they have to tell their story over and over again. And that can be incredibly exhausting and challenging,” Walsh said. “This network eliminates the need for someone to tell their story multiple times because all of the information is sent securely with that electronic referral.”

The services are electronically connected and people can be referred by one of the more than 100 organizations that are a part of it. Walsh says it speeds up the process of meeting people’s needs and also keeps what they’re going through private.

“South Carolina has lots of agencies that are already helping people, but they face challenges connecting with one another,” Walsh said. “This gives them a network where they can plug in and connect because they’re already serving the same people, they just don’t have the infrastructure to be able to collaborate more efficiently.”

Unite Us is spread across 28 counties in the state including Charleston and Greenville. With plans to expand across all of South Carolina by 2022. South Carolinians will now be able to access services like scheduling transportation to a doctor’s appointment or connecting families to food pantries.

For more information about how you can connect with the group if you’re in need of a service click here.

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