For those who find themselves in dire need of assistance there is only so much that government can typically do in trying to provide for those necessities. However, one such Wright County program has recently partnered up with an area business to help provide the much-needed funding for those in desperate financial straits.
The Wright County Human Services Special Needs Fund recently received a $10,000 donation from the Wright-Hennepin Cooperative Electric Trust’s Operation Round Up program to help replenish the fund.
The Special Needs Fund is often used as a one-time assist from the county for clients who have exhausted all of resources available to them by the county, the community they live in and volunteer organizations. The majority of the clients helped by the Special Needs Fund are on some form of insurance or assistance, but the county programs are unable to fund all of the client needs, such as medical needs or preventing a child from needing to be placed in foster care or helping senior citizens on fixed incomes get some of the everyday essentials they need to live.
Wright County Social Services Manager Michelle Miller said that for such a fund to exist, it requires the generosity of charitable groups like the Wright-Hennepin Electric Trust to help it sustain.
“Donations like this are very, very important,” Miller said. “We count on our Special Needs Fund to help support individuals and families in the community when there is no other means to support them. It’s to lend a hand when they need something – like getting their car repaired so they can get back to work and not lose their housing. It’s a financial support that they don’t have and we, as a county, wouldn’t otherwise have to get them to be more self-sufficient.”
It was that funding gap that got Marianne Charbonneau, a Wright County Social Services Supervisor who recently retired, inspired to come up with the concept of the Special Needs Fund. Before retiring, she wrote up the grant proposal that was approved by the Wright-Hennepin Electric Trust board of directors through its Operation Round Up charitable initiative.
As part of its service to the community, Operation Round Up has volunteer patrons of the electric cooperative round up their monthly electric bills with those funds being placed into the trust to administer to worthy causes.
Miller said the Special Needs Fund isn’t merely a handout to clients they serve, but a fund that can be used for those who need a helping hand at a specific time or need to have their quality of life improved and donations like the $10,000 received from the Wright-Hennepin Electric Trust are essential for helping meet those critical in-the-moment needs.
“It’s used for helping get people back on their feet so they can get to work or get housing so they aren’t on the street or they’re paying all their bills, but they don’t have enough money for groceries for them or their kids,” Miller said. “Those are the types of things we do with our clients and we can be creative with how these funds are used.”
For groups, individuals or organizations that would like to learn more about the Special Needs Fund, contact Wright County Health & Human Services at (763) 682-7400 or 1-800-362-3667.