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Letter: Volunteer and embrace living united

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To the Editor:

Donating time and resources to United Way. That's what we all have in common.

For almost a week, volunteers from Lake City and Red Wing joined forces in making recommendations to the United Way Board of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce Counties on allocating donated funds for the basic-needs applicants.

Our local United Way focuses its impact in three areas based on local community needs: education, health and basic needs.

The basic-needs panel goal is to fund programs that have measurable outcomes that meet the goal of "ensuring the basic needs of all individuals in our service area are met." These include food and housing programs as well as services that keep older adults and those with disabilities living independently.

What we didn't realize going in was how rewarding the experience was. Serving on the panel was a great opportunity to better understand the various support agencies serving our communities.

United Way is a conscientious steward of the money received through campaign donations, and the organizations funded through United Way are fully aligned with our mission and undergo a stringent application process.

As a group, we learned how much support United Way provides local programs -- learning about these programs was an added benefit.

Volunteers met Feb. 4-7 in Lake City to listen to applicants present information on their nonprofits and why United Way funding is needed.

We also conducted site visits for a better understanding of the day-to-day operations. We really got a feel for what wonderful things the programs provide.

We would like residents of Goodhue, Wabasha and Pierce counties to know the money raised through the United Way campaign really does serve our local communities. Allocating funds is certainly not taken lightly; as a group we really took pride in our decisions.

There are so many deserving non-profits out there, providing so many important services that benefit a lot of people. We encourage all community members to get involved with making recommendations on how United Way supports local programs.

Join a panel. It truly was an awarding experience for all.

For more information on joining a panel for next year, contact Tonya Roth, UW program director at 651-388-6309.

Katie Johnson

Jill Kenyon

Lisa Kuehl

Barry Moen

Megan Ramaker

Liz Runquist

Deanna Voth

Red Wing

Justin Tanner

Lake City

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