United Way keeps the fires burning

Published 1:37 pm Saturday, October 22, 2011

Column: Live United, by Ann Austin

The campaign kicked off a little over a month ago and so far the community has helped bring in over $86,000 toward the $661,000 need.

We are thankful for all of the companies throughout Freeborn County who are currently running a campaign, and for the individuals who continue to send donations in through the mail. We will continue to reach out to the community until the close of our campaign on Dec. 31.

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United Way has several fundraisers coming up in the next couple of weeks.

Ann Austin

Keep the Fires Burning will be Friday. In the past volunteers have braved the cold on busy street corners to ask for donations from passing motorists — this year we will be having a mini campout at the Northbridge Mall parking lot across from Herberger’s. Watch for us when you pass by on Bridge Avenue!

We will have agency representatives there to share stories and answer questions. We will also have volunteers roasting marshmallows for people who stop by. Anyone donating over $10 will get a s’more! And because it’s so close to Halloween, we’ve decided to do a costume contest for children and adults — contest winners will be posted on our website and Facebook and win a free hot drink from Caribou Coffee.

The next event will be Fountain Warehouse Liquor’s Holiday Wine Tasting on Nov. 4. The event brings people together for good food, good wine and good company. Wedgewood Cove Golf Club has generously hosted the site for the past few years and has plenty of room for people to spend time socializing.

We will continue to have our holiday-themed silent auction with great gifts for friends and family. This year we will also have some local artists displaying their works. A commissioned work of art would also make a wonderful gift!

As you think about whether to attend these events or to make a personal gift to the United Way, it may help put things in perspective when you see how far your money can go:

• $1 a day helps provide a hot lunch and nutritious snack for a child who is on the sliding fee program at The Children’s Center.

• $44 a day provides a homeless family with their own apartment including kitchen, bath and bedrooms. Each household receives case management to reach the goal of permanent housing and achieve self-sufficiency.

• $2 a week provides a youth with a Y membership.

$30 a week provides on-the-job training and support for a client who works for Cedar Valley Services.

• $10 a month provides four scholarships for children with developmental disabilities to attend The Arc’s summer programs and enjoy activities in the community along with their peers.

• $50 a month provides 42 senior clients with help from the senior advocate such as receiving nutritional food deliveries, finding the right Medicare Part D program, and help finding other financial resources that the senior may qualified for.

• $25 provides 24 hours of safe, licensed emergency care for a disadvantaged child.

• $115 provides a four-day troop camp: Kids explore camp and the outdoors with a variety of camp activities like swimming, boating, campfires and more.


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