Local United Way keeps campaigning

Published 9:51 am Thursday, October 11, 2012

After a little more than a month into its annual campaign, the United Way of Freeborn County has raised $116,000 of its $660,000 goal. The campaign drive ends Dec. 31.

That may not seem like record-setting pace, but United Way officials are happy with the progress and confident donations will start rolling in to support 29 local programs through roughly 16 agencies in 2013.

“A lot of gifts have been up this year,” said Ann Austin, United Way of Freeborn County executive director.

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Austin noted how even individuals are digging a bit deeper into their pockets, donating in the $10 to $20 range when they can — sometimes more.

“We are very thankful for everything people do for the organization,” Austin said.

While United Way has long assisted service organizations like the Salvation Army, Red Cross and Family Y and will continue to do so, United Way members are excited to support some new programs as well. Some of those programs are those that help people in group settings, or even right in their homes.

“A new one for this year is Healthy Families,” Austin said. “They actually work with parents and newborns up to 5, making sure needs are met physically, emotionally and developmentally.”

Other in-home programs United Way will fund include Community Technology and Services, which does counseling for those with autism and more; Group Support Services, which helps resolve family conflict issues; and Rock the Block, a collaborative program that aims to fix the inside and outside of five local houses each year. The United Way assisted Rock the Block for the first time this past August.

Among new groups requesting funds, the United Way will host new fundraising events, including Brookside Haunted Walk from 7 to 10 p.m. Oct. 26. Costumed performers at Brookside Boathouse will do their best to act scenes and spook visitors. Admission is $5.

Then it’s nearly crunch time for United Way. Several fundraising pushes will be held in November, including Give to the Max Day/Keep the Fires Burning, in which people will receive incentives to donate online while the United Way will reach out to those who have not heard the message. There will also be a wine and beer tasting fundraiser Nov. 2 at Wedgewood Cove Golf Club.

“I know there are people still out there who haven’t heard the message yet,” Austin said. “A point that people miss is that 98 percent of funds stay in our community. That’s what United Way is all about, bringing the funds back to the area and helping out people in need in our community.”

Austin added the United Way is always available to give presentations about its mission and local efforts to those who are interested. To donate online and to learn more about upcoming United Way events, visit unitedwayfc.org.