United Way program connects pregnant women in need to local resources

Pregnant women in our community struggling with addiction and other challenges are getting a helping hand through the Great Rivers United Way. One of the organization’s newest programs is helping these women and their children get the resources they need in order to thrive.

Brecken Allan was seven months pregnant and in an addiction treatment center after being released from jail.

“I didn’t know where I was going next, though and, you know, it’s scary because all I had was the clothes on my back,” said Allan, a Great Rivers Hub participant.

Luckily, Abbie Loos heard her story.

“These families are doing what I describe as running marathons and they’re up against a lot of things,” said Loos, a community care coordinator with the Great Rivers Hub program.

As a part of the United Way’s Great Rivers Hub program, coordinators help participants find the services they need.

“We have a really rich resource base in La Crosse County but sometimes for someone, who has a lot going on, it can be overwhelming to navigate,” said Lindsey Purl, director of the program.

Not only was Allan able to find an apartment through the program, she was able to get other necessities that might have been out of reach before.

“I got brand-new furniture in my house and a really nice crib for my baby,” Allan said.

Unlike other programs, Loos has been there by her side for many of these milestones.

“I’ve walked through the WAFER food pantry and I felt what that felt like. We went to theExchange program together to pick out furniture,” Loos said.

The goal is to get Allan to a place where she can navigate these challenges by herself.

“People are on for a certain amount of time until their needs are met and so that’s always changing,” Purl said.

Allan has made great progress but isn’t quite there yet. She’s still working on creating a great home for her children.

“That’s what I live for [is] my children, so having the help is really awesome,” Allan said.

Allan is currently trying to regain custody of two of her children. She said one of them will be staying with her over the summer, thanks to the help she’s received.