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My name is Lindsay Fujimoto, and I am an AmeriCorps VISTA serving at the United Way of Pierce County where I am the Project Coordinator for the Hunger-Free Pierce County Collaborative. My service focuses on healthy futures by ensuring that basic needs are met for Pierce County residents. One basic need I’m particularly focused on is hunger as more than 15% of people in Pierce County are food insecure. As with many social issues, hunger is intersectional in the sense that many other factors contribute to it as a part of the bigger picture of poverty. As a result, I have also worked to...

Post date: Monday, February 6, 2017 - 2:30pm

 Editor's Note: This is part of our ongoing series about struggling families in our community. In January 2016, United Way of Thurston County released the results from the first ALICE study. ALICE stands for Asset-Limited, Income-Constrained, Employed. The story below was submitted to us.  If you have a story to share from your own personal experience or about someone you know, we invite you to share it with us at

Learn more about ALICE on our website...
Post date: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 - 8:36am
Food, meals and housing support for struggling rural Thurston county residents

Just short of the December holidays, United Way awarded $16,880 in federal Emergency Food and Shelter Program (EFSP) grants to nonprofits serving Thurston county residents.   EFSP is a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program providing emergency food and shelter for vulnerable people.  This is part of United Way’s commitment to reducing the number of struggling children and families in Thurston County.

ROOF Community Services will use its $6,880 award in partnership with the Thurston County Food...

Post date: Friday, December 23, 2016 - 8:55am
Submitted by Nancy Villanueva, Right from the Start Program Coordinator 
Just last week I met a mom while helping families with Operation Santa applications at Rochester Organization of Families (ROOF). Her family just moved to Rochester and wasn't familiar with resources available in the community.

She had her 4-year-old son with her and she said that she was interested in early learning things for him to get prepared for kindergarten. I seized on the opportunity to share with her about United Way's Right from the Start program and invited her to attend story time.

I also...

Post date: Sunday, December 18, 2016 - 7:34am

This fall, United Way leverage our resources to assist the Boys and Girls Club of Thurston County to open their Lacey club doors to 33 homeless students. Instead of spending hours on the bus to uncertain housing situations, these kids will now gain help with homework, a nutritious afterschool snack and play fills the time that was previously spent stuck on a school bus.
  Despite the fact that the Lacey Boys and Girls Club had no additional open spots, the organizational leadership felt it was critical that this group of kids be accommodated as the alternative had been...
Post date: Friday, December 9, 2016 - 8:44am

With the holiday season in full swing, you may be looking for organizations to support, but why tie your giving to one season? Maybe this is the year that you consider making volunteering a monthly habit. Luckily, you are already connected to the United Way of Thurston County which places volunteers in local organizations year-round through our leadership of Volunteer Thurston.

If you need some help to get started, we’ve rounded up some suggestions. Consider making a monthly commitment to one of the causes that speaks the most to you and your family.


Nature Nurtures...

Post date: Friday, December 2, 2016 - 4:04pm

Our Back to School Bash in Rochester was a free evening full of fun for our preschool thru 5th grade students and their families. We had over 550 people in attendance who enjoyed games, free food, crafts and the Reptile Man Show. There was amazing support from volunteers, community partners and staff members. We had over a dozen community agencies including Timberland Regional Library, South Sound Reading Foundation, Family Education & Support Services, Sea Mar, Molina, CIELO, United Way of Thurston County, ROOF, Thurston County Sheriff’s Office that attended and provided fun...

Post date: Tuesday, September 27, 2016 - 9:02am

A Towel Tale

September 2016

Recently, I attended a tour of some of the organizations that United Way of Thurston County supports. One of them was Pear Blossom Place. Located next to the Family Support Center, Pear Blossom Place is a 24-hour shelter for families. The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that in the U.S. as of 2015 there were 564,708 people homeless on any given night and of these 206,286 are people in families.  With 28 beds for families with children and an additional seven subsidized apartments, which have space for 32 people, Pear Blossom Place has...

Post date: Wednesday, September 21, 2016 - 10:38am
Check out the amazing things our Reading Buddies did in 2015-16!

Post date: Tuesday, August 30, 2016 - 4:16pm

Jason Rubin is an AmeriCorps*VISTA who is finishing up a year of service with the United Way of Thurston County.  In a community where 50% of 4th grade students are below standard in Reading, Math, and/or Writing, and 30% of students do not graduate on time, Jason has followed a higher calling to turn struggling readers into high school graduates one reader at a time. The two main goals of their VISTA project were to build capacity in the United Way Reading Buddy program and to support a redesign of the United Way Kindergarten Readiness Calendar.

While Jason has had many takeaways...

Post date: Monday, August 22, 2016 - 2:35pm