The United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties recognizes the population of its service region that is made up of college students, specifically those who attend Bloomsburg University. A survey conducted by Edvisors stated that 64% of college students reported running out of money before the end of the semester. Many factors can contribute to this occurrence including poor planning, a change in the family’s financial situation, loss of employment, emergency expenses, and many more. Regardless, United Way of Columbia and Montour County believes students shouldn’t have to choose between financial stability and education—they should come hand-in-hand.
There are many different health-related resources in the region the can provide some services not necessarily available on campus. The Women’s Center in Bloomsburg is a non-profit organization that provides support and resources to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and incest. The Women’s Center offers both individual and group counseling, medical advocacy, and legal advocacy for all victims including those who identify as LGBTQ+. For more information, call 570-784-6632 or visit their website.
Caring Communities is another great resource in the community for student health needs. They offer free and confidential STD testing and STD treatment. The Caring Communities Bloomsburg free STD Clinic is open Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Caring Communities also provides free condoms, various sexual health information, PrEP services (Truvada) to help prevent the transmission of HIV, and free case management for eligible persons with HIV/AIDS. To make an appointment with Caring Communities, please call 570-829-2700.
Financial support is one of the most vital resources for college students, especially those living off-campus. CSO Community Action Agency is one of the best resources in the area for financial assistance. CSO offers a variety of assistance programs to support community members. These programs include rent assistance, assistance in lowering energy costs, financial assistance programs with UGI, PPL, Aqua Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania American Water, and LIHEAP. CSO also offers access to home-delivered meals for home-bound individuals, assistance with SNAP application, the VITA tax assistance program and much more. In addition to their various assistance programs, CSO Community Action Agency also hosts various workshops to help community members develop new skills and achieve their life goals. Some of the workshops offered include “Basic Budgeting,” “Landlords and Tenants,” “Conserving to Save” and “Grocery Getter.” Through CSO’s case management, individuals receive well-rounded, multi-faceted assistance that can help individuals establish life-long financial stability. For more information about CSO programs or to get assistance from CSO, call 570-644-6575.
For students without a meal plan, access to a healthy meal – or any meal at all – can be a challenge. However, there are many resources that are available to students. AGAPE, a non-profit organization in Bloomsburg, sponsors various programs that seek to fight hunger in the area. One of the programs, DailyBread, provides referrals to various food banks in the region, a weekly hot meal every Thursday (open to the public) between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m., and Fresh Express which provides fresh produce to community members every Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tapestry of Health is a WIC program provider in the region, which offers nutritional meals to pregnant or postpartum women and children in need. In addition, the Farmer’s Market Nutritional Program offers coupons that can be used at approved farms, farmer’s markets, and roadside stands assistant pregnant, breastfeeding, and postpartum women and children in having access to fresh, nutritional food. For more information about Tapestry of Health or the WIC program, please visit their website, or call 570-245-0090.
The Bloomsburg Food Cupboard is another service within the community that provides access to food. Their program, Husky Pantry, is designed to provide Bloomsburg University students a selection of produce and non-perishable food items. Husky Pantry is held on Monday evenings and no sign-ups are required. For more information about the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard, visit their website, or call 570-784-0801.
Often, taking care of all these needs will leave students with no money left over for other necessities. Things like home supplies, clothing, school supplies, and computers, however, are available through programs offered throughout the region. STOREMORE is a program offered by AGAPE in Bloomsburg, that collects and distributes items including household goods, used furniture, beds, appliances and more in order to aid members within the community. In addition to STOREMORE, AGAPE also sponsors the program WIN, or women in need. This program supplies hygiene products to women and girls in need. For more information on these programs, click here.
The United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties also recognizes this need within the community. Their annual event, “Trash 2 Treasure,” is a resell event where they collect goods from various resources throughout the community. Each year the “Trash 2 Treasure” event helps community members access low-cost computers, laptops, printers, other electronics, household goods, cleaning supplies, school supplies, and much more. For more information about the Trash 2 Treasure event, or any of the resources mentioned, please visit here or call 570-784-3134.
The United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties is a non-profit organization, located in Bloomsburg. We look to lead, inspire, and mobilize individuals within the community to help provide solutions to essential health and human services issues in Columbia and Montour counties. For almost 60 years, United Way of Columbia and Montour Counties has provided various education, income, and health related resources to community members.