United Way of Marshall County executive Director Linda Yoder and Brian Teall Development Manager presented their proposal for ARP Funds to Fund the Essential 2.0 Program at Monday’s meeting. 

After meeting with the ARP Committee last month their recommendation was to approve the $150,00 request with the stipulation that all county funding would be used for food assistance for citizens of the county.  The ARP Committee wanted United Way to provide additional information on how the funds would be used and tracked.

Teall told the commissioners there has been a 45% increase from 2022 for basic support such as food.  He said one member agency has spent approximately 77% of their annual budget already on food assistance.

Commissioner Stan Klotz told the other commissioners that local food panties can purchase food from the Food Band of Northern Indiana at .18 cents a pound.   He wondered if making a donation directly to the Food Bank with the stipulation that it be for Marshall County food panties would be a better idea than giving the full amount to United Way and allowing them to share the funds as needed. 

Yoder said each pantry faces different needs at different times and limiting them to the Food Bank of Norther Indiana limits their opportunities.  She said sometimes a local provider may have an extremely reasonable offer for food purchases but only giving the funds to the Food Bank would limit their chances to obtain additional food items.  Yoder also explained that mobile food distributions cost about $25,000 and the county hasn’t had many because of the lack of funding.  She said many times this is where someone with food insecurities gets started in the food pantry process. 

United Way told the commissioners all distributions will be determined and paid to trusted community partners by June 30, 2024.  They said 100% of all funds from the Marshall County Commissioners and Council shall be utilized for food support and no administrative fees will be assessed from United Way of Marshall County. A final report on fund expenditures will be provided to the Marshall County Commissioners and Council. 

The County Commissioners will send a favorable recommendation to the County Council to support the $150,000 request of United Way to Fund the Essentials 2.0 using the county’s ARP Funds.