United Way gets neighbors helping neighbors in Pineville

Published: Jan. 14, 2019 at 4:13 PM CST
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Last week, the United Way introduced us to 'ALICE', working poor households across the state. Their study revealed that almost half of Louisiana's population is barely making ends meet.

Recently, the United Way of Central Louisiana launched the 'Strong Neighborhood Project' to connect ALICE families with the resources they need.

In November, they started the project in Pineville. They focused first on Main Street, Wardville, and Military Highway area neighborhoods. It's a "neighbors helping neighbors" concept. The United Way has been meeting with community leaders and neighbors to see who has a skill they can share.

For example, they say one neighbor might be handy with power tools, another might sew and one may be good at working on cars. They have been working to put these neighbors in contact with one another to help ALICE families when the budget is tight. They hope to create a stronger Central Louisiana.

"It's a tough economy to work in, it's a tough economy to thrive in, especially when you have looked at the ALICE data," said project facilitator Kevin Gebhart. "Families need a little more support and we need to think outside of the box in terms of new and innovative ways to meet the needs of our community. Especially the needs of our youth and our senior citizens."

The United Way hopes to expand this project to other Central Louisiana neighborhoods. They encourage anyone interested in sharing their skills with their neighbors to reach out: kevin@strongneighborhood.org.