Summer Struggles

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Summer Struggles

Contributor: Susan Perri, Marketing and Communication Specialist at United Way Fox Cities

All industries see trends. If you are in the business of selling cars in the Midwest, for example, you will likely see an uptick in sales of convertibles when the temperatures start to promise summer is on the way. You might find it interesting that health and human services see seasonal trends too. In the nonprofit world, the warmer weather doesn’t necessarily mean fun-in-the-sun for the people we serve. As the ground thaws, here are five trends we see:

  1. Calls to 2-1-1 for help with paying utilities spike. A heating moratorium in Wisconsin prevents utility companies from turning off electricity or natural gas fueling furnaces of customers behind in payments. The moratorium lasts from November 1 to April 15. After the moratorium is lifted, families may find themselves at-risk of losing utilities again.

  2. Numbers of people on the streets increase. Over the cold winter months, family and friends are often are more willing to provide shelter to someone they know who is experiencing a homeless episode.

  3. Summer break brings child care challenges. This is the time of year working families, single parents, and homeless families often struggle to find affordable, quality child care options for their school-age children.

  4. Summer learning loss has real consequences, so finding quality child care matters. Children can lose as many as three months of reading comprehension skills over the summer if they do not have access to books and enriching summer activities. By the end of third grade, they will have lost an entire year.

  5. Children in struggling households go hungry more often without consistent weekday meals through school. To compound the issue, food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and winter holiday seasons. By springtime, many pantries are depleted.

As you plan your summer fun (summer is coming – I promise), don’t forget to schedule in some opportunities to give, advocate, and volunteer. There are so many options: donate your extra clothes to the Community Clothes Closet, volunteer to chaperone a field trip at the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Fox Valley, grow a row in your garden for St. Joseph Food Program, or mark your calendar to fill your mailbox with non-perishable items for the May 12th Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Who knows? Giving back feels good, so you might discover these activities add fun to your summer too.