CHIP Store Provides “Hand Up” for Program Participants
When the CHIP Store opened this past week, United Way was lucky to be there. The Children’s Health Investment Program (CHIP) provides assistance for expecting mothers and children from infancy through 6 years of age with a focus on health, school readiness and household stability.
Through the CHIP Store program, parents are awarded points when they accomplish positive goals including things like attending parent teacher conferences, going to an ultrasound appointment or achieving life goals set with their advocacy partner. These points accumulate and participants are then able to spend their hard-earned points at the CHIP Store. The store includes household necessities like cleaning supplies, baby clothes, feminine products and even toys. After the participants are done shopping, they have the opportunity to get their family photos taken by Lifetouch Photography.
United Way was able to speak with Brittani about her experience with CHIP as a program participant. Brittani is a mom of four who entered the program several years ago and was immediately encouraged by the staff at CHIP. Tina, Brittani’s advocate, was with her when she lost her boyfriend at the time. “Miss Tina was there for everything, even if I needed to cry or work out relationship problems,” Brittani said. “Miss Tina was, and still is always there.”
Tina has seen Brittani grow and accomplish life goal after life goal. The connection that CHIP has created with those they work with is one of respect and encouragement. This is evident as Brittani is now looking forward to starting her education and hopes to come back to CHIP to be an advocate for others. “I want to be a CHIP worker, when I get there, once I get the degree,” Brittani said. “That’s how much Miss Tina and this organization has influenced me.”
This year, the CHIP Store was operated by CHIP staff with volunteers from PRA Group as well as with assistance from the Langley For Families Foundation, Christ & St. Luke’s Episcopal Church and Alpha Delta Kapp of Azalea-Epsilon. Thank you to all of the incredible organizations who donated to the CHIP store including Atlantic Union Bank, Baker’s Crust, Brant’s Blessings Foundation, Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, Fulton Bank, Hair Kingdom, Lakes of Greenbrier Apartments, Mt. Pleasant Vet Clinic, North Beach Apartments, Pembroke Apartments, Pembroke Mall, Sterling Financial, Summer Station Apartments and TowneBank.