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United Way focusing in on financial stability, ending hunger, homelessness

FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2015m file photo, actress and director Angelina Jolie Pitt arrives at the 2015 AFI Fest opening night premiere of "By The Sea," in Los Angeles. To help shed her early reputation, Jolie agreed to be drug tested during production of 2001's "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider," according to a new book. The Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday, March 29, 2017, released an excerpt from an upcoming biography of the former studio head Sherry Lansing, "Leading Lady." Lansing stepped down as Paramount Pictures chairman and chief executive in 2005. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

The United Way has numerous charities under its umbrella, but lately has focused itself on several key areas: ensuring the success of young children, helping people reach financial stability and ending both hunger and homelessness.

While the goals are difficult to achieve, Amy Schwabenlender, the vice president of the Valley of the Sun United Way, said the group is directing all of its financial resources to the aforementioned key areas.

“Those are now how we focus all of our financial investments, our staff resources,” she told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR’s Karie & Chuck, adding that the organization hopes to reach its goals by 2020.

Schwabenlender said United Way is attempting to humanize the 82,000 households in Maricopa County who are constantly wondering where their next meal is coming from.

“Giving that number of 82,000 has made it more understandable for the general public to hear that number,” she said, adding that the total number of people going hungry is about 250,000.

“A town in Maricopa County is roughly that same number. Once people can visualize a whole town here equals that number, I think that helps them to think about it in a different way.”

Schwabenlender said most of the hungry households are a single-parent situation, possibly at risk of homelessness due to low income. Another 20 percent of the households are seniors.

“They’re living on limited budgets,” she said. “They’re in the same position of picking what bills to pay each month.”

Schwabenlender said all of the donations received in Maricopa County stay in Maricopa County.

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To donate to the Valley of the Sun United Way, go to vsuw.org.

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