United Way of Southwest Alabama knows that individuals cannot succeed without life’s basic essentials. Research shows that the most basic needs must be met before individuals and families can tackle other life changes. To strengthen our community, United Way aspires to ensure that our citizens’ immediate and basic needs are met during times of crisis and personal challenge.

  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Emergency Financial Assistance
  • Disaster Relief & Recovery

Why It Matters


of the population in Choctaw, Clarke, Mobile, and Washington counties experienced food insecurity at some point during 2016


of students in public school systems in our four-county coverage area are eligible to participate in the Free Lunch Program under the National School Lunch Program


of households in our service area has at least one of the following four problems: overcrowding, high housing costs, lack of kitchen, or lack of plumbing facilities

What Is Working
  • 40,493 meals were served in 2019 to clients receiving shelter in Mobile and Washington counties (McKemie Place & Penelope House, Inc.)
  • More than 3.9 million pounds of food was distributed in 2019 in Clarke, Mobile, and Washington counties, equating to approximately 3,284,830 meals with a wholesale value of more than $5 million (Feeding the Gulf Coast)
  • 265 clients in Clarke County were provided financial help with electricity, water, and gas in 2019 at a cost of $14,725.37 (Catholic Social Services)
  • 81% of clients were able to maintain stable housing for at least nine months (Housing First, Inc.)
Essentials Collaborations

Emergency Food & Shelter Program

This program was created by Congress to help meet the needs of hungry and homeless people throughout the United States and its territories by allocating federal funds for the provision of food, shelter, and emergency assistance. In our service area, UWSWA serves as its fiscal manager and the program is governed by a local board. The most recent funding cycle through Phase 37 brought a total of $144,171 in Mobile County and $6,395 in Washington County. Through the additional help from the CARES Act (COVID-19), Mobile county received $205,547 and Washington County received $9,117.

United Way 2-1-1

Since its creation in 2007, United Way 2-1-1 has been the nation’s premier referral resource for people who are seeking health and human services information. Locally, through a UWSWA partnership with Lifelines Counseling Services, trained and caring call specialists provide direct access to free and confidential referrals to community services for individuals seeking assistance. In 2019, United Way 2-1-1 continued to serve our communities by answering 12,420 calls and providing 9,416 referrals, along with 1,300 follow-up calls.

Get Help Now

Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD)
The Mobile County VOAD, of which UWSWA is a member, seeks to ensure the availability of resources and services and to encourage appropriate distribution during long-term disaster recovery, the extended period following a disaster during which agencies and organizations help affected persons after immediate needs are met.

Learn more about Hurricane Preparation and Recovery