Can you give $1 more per week this year?

Published 8:00 am Sunday, October 7, 2012

Column: By Ann Austin, Live United

It seems there are dollar deals everywhere these days — on the McDonald’s menu, in the bins at Target. There are whole stores devoted to items that cost only a dollar.

Usually, when we pay a dollar we get a pack of gum, a bottle of water or some trivial item that we throw away after a week.

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But what is the value of a dollar in our community? It’s amazing to know how impactful a dollar can actually be.

Ann Austin

Every year we think about what message we’d like to deliver to the community — which stories to share and how to help people understand what the United Way is all about. This year we asked the agencies to provide information about how each dollar can impact their work in Freeborn County. Sometimes information like this really puts things into perspective:

• One dollar will purchase more than five pounds of food for local families in need.

• One dollar per day provides six round-trip rides for a senior to get medical service at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester

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

• One dollar per day provides 10 hours of family therapy for a family that otherwise lacks resources to receive help

• One dollar per day provides four taxi vouchers each month to assist victims of domestic violence with court, medical appointments or attending women’s groups

These are examples of how impactful your gift is for our community. United Way ensures that 98 percent of funds stay local, to help our neighbors and friends. For a complete list, you can visit our web site: and go to “2012 campaign,” then click on “What your dollar will do?”

Last year, United Way raised just over $600,000. The average gift was $50, and there were more than 2,500 people who donated in our community. If everyone gave a dollar a week more than they did last year, we would be able to raise more than $730,000 and exceed the need of $660,000 for 2013. Not only would we be able to fully fund community programs, we could grant additional funds to areas of need in our community.

There are several ways to give, too! If you don’t get a card at your workplace or find one in the mailbox, you can always stop by our office (located in US Bank, downtown Albert Lea), give us a call at 373-8670 or attend one of the events we have coming up:

Haunted Walk: Oct. 26, 7 to 10 p.m. starting at the Brookside Park boat launch. Cost is $5 per person. Not recommended for children 10 years and under.

Fountain Warehouse Liquor Wine Tasting: Nov. 2, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wedgewood Cove Golf Club. There will be wine and beer and hors d’oeuvres. There will also be a silent auction, and art for sale from local artists. Cost is $20 per person.

Keep the Fires Burning and Give to the Max Day: Nov. 15, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the corner of Broadway and Main Street.

A dollar doesn’t seem to be much, but when you really think about it — it can make all the difference. Thank you for being part of making that difference in people’s lives!


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