Made up of local churches, the Windham Area Interfaith Ministry, or WAIM, is a volunteer-driven organization based in Willimantic, which is a town in Windham County. The charity serves thousands of individuals through basic services and special assistance programs, including Unmet Needs Fund as well as Back to School.
The funding is available using donations from dozens of faith based charities and churches. This allows the non-profit organization to distribute free clothing, household goods and furniture to persons in need. WAIM also provides financial assistance for paying energy bills and works to prevent homelessness by assisting with rent, as resources allow.
The Material Goods Redistribution program offers basic needs. There may be clothing and household goods available to its clientele. WAIM also distributes gently used furniture, including beds, cribs for infants, dressers and kitchen tables. All items are donated, gently used and free of charge. The Material Goods Redistribution program also offers donors a pick-up service for furniture.
Another option, the UNF - Unmet Needs Fund, offers small cash grants to needy individuals. Under the UNF program, financial aid is available for needs ranging from back rent expenses and prescription medications to diapers and car seats.
The program also allocates funds for transportation purposes, helping clients commute to work. This will also include car repairs, if it will help people secure employment and attend important appointments. Additional funds from Windham Area Interfaith Ministry can be used to cover the cost of gasoline, car repairs, license and registration fees, and even automobile insurance.
Impoverished families, and their children, can turn to the Back to School (BTS) program for assistance in preparing students for the new school year. This service offers qualified local families certificates to help with the purchase of shoes, pants, underwear, uniforms and other items necessary for the first day of school. The BTS program relies on the support and generosity of the local community as well as churches.
WAIM formed the Women and Children program. This resources addresses some of the barriers that prevent women from achieving their potential in the workplace. WAIM also helps females overcome hurdles to educational resources. There may be one time emergency financial support to help women maintain employment, provide for their families and follow educational pursuits.
Windham Area Interfaith Ministry operates the Energy Bill Assistance program to help low-income families who are ineligible to receive monetary support for utility expenses from other services. All clients of this program need to be low income and also in danger of losing access to heat, hot water and/or electricity.
Most applicants either do not qualify for government assistance in Connecticut, or have exhausted the resources that were available to them. Many senior citizens and children in Windham County are among the program’s clientele. In order to register for the Energy Assistance program, specific documentation is required. Families in need of help keeping their power on should contact WAIM for additional information.
Families that need help in moving to an affordable apartment may qualify for a low interest loan for related expenses. The money may be used to pay for a security deposit, or a portion of first months rent. In some cases, WAIM may help a currently homeless person, if they are now steadily employed with a source of income.
The Adopt-a-Family service allows households in crisis to celebrate the Christmas holiday season. These families would otherwise not have the opportunity to do so on their own. Clients are referred to WAIM through local social service providers or churches, and the charity then makes thorough assessments to carefully match families and donors.
As part of Adopt-a-Family, individuals are provided with a free holiday meal, as well as gifts for both children and adults. Donors make adoptions according family size, and people that contribute can either deliver the food and gifts directly to the family they have adopted or use WAIM to anonymously deliver the goods.
For more information contact Windham Area Interfaith Ministry. WAIM is located at 866 Main Street,Willimantic, Connecticut 06226 and can be reached by phone at (860) 456-7270.
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