Nanette Villarreal, who is celebrating eighteen years with Kings United Way, and I recently chatted about the organization and what it does for our community.
First known as Hanford Aid Society and then King’s Aid Society, Kings United Way has been an integral part of our community since 1966. Offices are now located at 125 W. 7th St. Hanford.
“Originally an organization that organized investment campaigns and raised funds exclusively for charity, Kings United Way has grown exponentially since its founding decade. We do a lot of other things now that we’ve added some things to our portfolio. says Villarreal. “I view our organization as a four-bucket organization. First, we have what we call the capacity building support basket. This is where we build support for nonprofits and help leaders get money and resources, also providing training.
The next bucket is the regional homeless management information system. This is a database into which all homeless service providers enter client-level data. All information about our homeless population is entered into the database that is managed here in this office. To receive HUD funding, you must participate in this RHM database. The third bucket is our new program, the Kings County Referral Exchange. It is a two-way reference platform. When I started in nonprofits in the 80s, I had to hand-write referrals for clients. This platform sends client information directly to the resources rather than having a longer wait due to the paper format.
Villarreal continued: “The final bucket is the 211 information program. By searching 211kingscounty.org, dialing 211 or texting 898211, you will be directed to resources and services that can meet your needs. . A monthly food calendar is available through this service. Our service is bilingual for full time Spanish and English and has access to over 150 languages through the call center.
The cooperative events or programs that KUW works in tandem with community members that Villarreal highlighted were:
- Annual Turkey Trot
- Serve the day with local churches
- Closed Elder Care Packages
- Survival-based supply drives for the homeless
Villarreal explained: “We try to anticipate the real needs of members of the homeless community rather than what we think they might need, so our team is focused on survival-based resources. Sleeping bags, warm socks and insect repellent, things that will help prevent illness or injury. We are in partnership with private citizens who go to the camps and distribute the supplies and help us meet the real needs. »
Kings County Action Organization
I met with KCAO Executive Director Jeff Garner and Community Development Manager Sazino Perico this week over the phone. We talked about the mission of Kings Community Action Organization and what this organization has done for the community since 1965.
Garner said, “We are a team. We work as a team internally and with our community members to make this community a better place to live. Garner continued, “We seek out and provide services and programs to help establish and maintain self-sufficiency to improve clients’ economic status.”
“The resilience of this agency, its staff, volunteers and board members during the COVID-19 pandemic is something I want to highlight. Each of our 245 team members did their best to pull through. No matter how high the mountain, we climb it to help our community,” Garner proudly shared.
Perico has been with the agency for ten years. “I started as a volunteer. I have worked with youth and adults helping with the VITA tax program, and now I am in that position. I work with our social media and community outreach. I like being able to see people in my community grow and gain this autonomy. I celebrate their successes.
“I love helping the community in which I grew up. There is a connection between all of us with KCAO. If you don’t need resources or services, you can always reach out to us as a vendor or volunteer,” Garner said of his stint at Kings Community Action Organization.
Some programs available through KCAO:
- A lead
- Food aid
- 24 hour crisis helpline 1-877-727-3225
- Domestic violence and sexual assault
At the end of our conversation, Garner said, “We try to meet families where they are with the goal of achieving true self-reliance and helping them every step of the way, whether it’s a long or short journey. .”
If you need help in Kings County, you can contact KCAO or Kings United Way and rest assured that help will be there.
Makenzie Rankin is a military wife and mother of two. She loves gardening and crafts and can be found volunteering at the Children’s Storybook Garden and Museum in historic downtown Hanford every weekend. Rankin’s blog can be found at www.anchorsandwhiskers.com, where she uses her voice to uplift members of the community.