The United Way campaign has officially begun

Published 1:53 pm Saturday, September 4, 2010

We — the United Way of Freeborn County — had our annual kickoff breakfast Wednesday where volunteers, agency representatives and community members were invited to hear stories and get excited about what we can accomplish in our community.

It takes a lot of work to organize a campaign, and we appreciate all of the help we have from the community — from our small business blitz volunteers who spent the day Sept. 1 visiting businesses across Freeborn County to the volunteers who help organize larger campaigns. We couldn’t do it without you!

Ann Austin, Live United

As a small, locally run nonprofit organization, we rely heavily on volunteers. We are a two-person staff, and it would be incredibly difficult for us to reach out to all of the people in the community. Every year we have about 500 volunteers who help us to carry out the campaign. These are diligent, dedicated people who also like to have a good time!

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Even before the kickoff event, community members had the pleasure of attending Albert Lea Medical Center’s Bruno’s Corn Dog fundraiser and Freeborn County’s Lunch on the Lawn. Between the two, they raised more than $2,600. It’s always great to see people come together for a good cause!

Many of you may have heard of the small business blitz that occurred the same day as our kickoff event. We wanted to expand our efforts to more areas of the community this year, so we asked volunteers to help canvass local businesses to talk about United Way funded programs and ask for donations. Thank you to KATE Radio and Power 96 for helping to publicize the event. We will run a special thank you ad in the Tribune after we’ve received all of the pledges.

We received nearly 20 new pledges the day of the event in addition to our longtime supporters and are still hearing from businesses who would like to donate to the campaign or provide items for our events. The best part of this day was connecting with people we don’t have a chance to meet the rest of the year.

The United Way campaign is focused on raising funds to support programs, but it’s so much more than that. The campaign is a way to reach out to individuals and raise awareness of how people can receive help in our community. We know not everyone will be able to contribute to the United Way this year, but when a volunteer stops by to visit, we encourage you to have a conversation. You may find out there is a program that can help a loved one or you may just learn something new.

And you can always feel free to attend one of our events this year to find out more about the United Way:

  • Hanson Tire Lube-A-Thon (Saturday, Sept. 11) Location: Hanson Tire, Main Street
  • Live United Disc Golf Outing (Monday, Sept. 20) Location: Bancroft Bay Park
  • Keep the Fires Burning (Friday, Oct. 29) Location: to be announced
  • Fountain Warehouse Liquor Wine Tasting (Friday, Nov. 5) Location: Wedgewood Cove

Ann Austin is the executive director of the United Way of Freeborn County.