United Way’s ’09 campaign kicks offA hundred volunteers will fan out this afternoon for Day of Caring, part of the kickoff for Mitchell United Way’s 2009 Campaign. Area residents will spend time lending a hand at several United Way agencies, ranging from LifeQuest to Salvation Army, Executive Director Dave Stevens said.
By: Melanie Brandert, The Daily Republic
A hundred volunteers will fan out this afternoon for Day of Caring, part of the kickoff for Mitchell United Way’s 2009 Campaign.
Area residents will spend time lending a hand at several United Way agencies, ranging from LifeQuest to Salvation Army, Executive Director Dave Stevens said.
“We will do more for individuals than we did last year,” he said. “We’ve had more people step forward because it’s the second year. They’re more aware about the opportunities to help.”
The Day of Caring marks the official start to the group’s fundraising season. The nonprofit organization set a lower goal for this year, hoping to raise $446,000 — 3 percent lower than 2008. The amount is based on a review of funding requests by the United Way board, consideration of projected operating expenses and a realistic adjustment for the slack economy. The campaign ends in October.
One new agency — Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Mitchell Area — will compete for United Way dollars. Some agencies, such as the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, will receive less money because they garnered economic stimulus funds, campaign chairwoman Marilyn Wilson said.
Despite the lower goal, United Way officials remain optimistic that area residents will still donate to the cause.
“People are willing to step up and contribute toward the goals because the needs are greater than ever,” Stevens said.
Among the volunteers today, six city department heads, including Wilson, will spend their afternoon painting and washing windows at James Valley Community Center.
“We think it’s important we support nonprofit agencies in the community,” she said. “This is an excellent way in helping those nonprofits reach their goals.”
Volunteers will depart after an 11:45 a.m. luncheon at Mitchell Technical Institute. Fifteen teams with an average of six people each will take part in the Day of Caring, Stevens said. Aside from agencies, some Mitchell residents’ homes also will be spruced up.
One major effort involves moving equipment and offices around and painting at Dakota Counseling. Work will be done at YWCA, to where Teddy Bear Treasure has moved.
Mitchell Area Safehouse is one of the recipients of this outpouring of volunteerism.
Three rooms will be painted — one where remodeling took place last year, Executive Director Wendy Figland said. More child-friendly colors will be applied to walls in the visitation and children’s activity rooms, she said.
Given that the shelter for abuse victims only has four full-time and four part-time victims, staff members often do not have time to take care of maintenance tasks, Figland said.
“Staff gets stretched pretty tight,” she said. “There aren’t enough hours in the day for us.”
If some teams finish early, they will be sent to help others that fall behind, Stevens said.