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United Way of Southwest Minnesota
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Congratulations to Bella Goschey and Audrey Hanson on their accomplishment. They are the first two children to graduate from the program in Clarkfield
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This year marks twelve years of student emergency grant funding made available to schools in the United Way of Southwest Minnesota service area. Each
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Thank you to everyone who donated food and/or monetary donations in support of the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Letter carriers in this area, assisted
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Board and staff working together can either be exciting or frustrating and challenging. The secret is to provide Board Governance training for yo
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Area residents have an opportunity to help Stamp Out Hunger by donating non-perishable, non-breakable food items on Saturday, May 9th.  Letter Ca
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May 19, 2015
Student Emergency Fund Grants

This year marks twelve years of student emergency grant funding made available to schools in the United Way of Southwest Minnesota service area. Each spring all private, public and charter schools in our service area are invited to apply for a student emergency grant for the upcoming school year. More than $100,000 has now been distributed through this United Way of Southwest Minnesota initiative.

 

Funding levels for each school are based upon the total number of students who are eligible for free and reduced lunches. Funds are for use by area schools to help meet unusual, unfunded basic needs of their neediest students. Grants for the 2015-16 school year were approved at the May United Way board of directors meeting and will be distributed to schools in early August.

 

Schools receiving funds make every effort to inform all school staff of the fund prior to the start of the school year, discuss what the fund can be used for, and how it can be accessed.  Each school has a point person(s) or task force responsible for oversight of the funds. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota wants to make sure that children have a good chance to further their education successfully and is proud to provide funds that can assist to reduce/eliminate barriers.

 

Schools are required to provide a financial recap of prior year’s usage of funds when applying for the upcoming school year. As one school representative shared “It is a great help for us in these situations where the students and families have nowhere else to turn to. Thank you United Way of Southwest Minnesota for your continued support.”  During the 2014-15 school year, examples of how some of the funds were used include items such as: lice kits, underwear, clothing, socks & shoes, lunch assistance, hygiene items, pillows and blankets, emergency dental needs, eyeglasses, winter apparel, field trip fees, school supplies, etc.

 

For more information or to make a contribution to this valuable program, please contact the United Way of Southwest Minnesota at 507-929-2273 or log on to www.UnitedWaySWMN.org.

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create long lasting change in people’s lives and the communities we serve in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles, and Redwood counties of Minnesota. 


May 19, 2015
Clarkfield Children Graduate from 1,000 Books Before Kindergaraten!

Congratulations to Bella Goschey and Audrey Hanson on their accomplishment. They are the first two children to graduate from the program in Clarkfield. A NR2015.05.19.jpgspecial graduation celebration was held earlier this month at the Clarkfield Community Library.

 

The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program encourages parents to read aloud at least 1000 books with their children before they enter Kindergarten. Children, when registered at a participating library, receive a canvas library bag with artwork on one side and a list of participating libraries on the other side, a reading folder with a reading log, program information and frequently asked questions. Children receive incentive prizes throughout the 1000 book journey and upon completion of the program a graduation party.

 

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is working in partnership with all 15 area libraries in our service area to facilitate the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program. Three of the area libraries, Fulda, Slayton, and Westbrook, already had successful programs so the United Way offered additional support/materials to those existing locations while initiating the start up in the 12 remaining locations. Participating libraries include: Fulda, Westbrook, Slayton, Marshall – Lyon County, Balaton, Cottonwood, Clarkfield, Tyler, Tracy, Minneota, Ivanhoe, Canby, Dawson, Granite Falls and Lake Benton.

 

Any child from birth until kindergarten can sign up. Registration is ongoing at each respective library. It will take from a few months to a few years, depending on how many books you read at a time. Developing literacy skills begins at birth and continues throughout the toddler and pre-school years.

For more information on 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten call 507-929-2273, visit the United Way website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org or contact your local library.


May 15, 2015
United Way of SW MN to offer Board Governance Training Session

Board and staff working together can either be exciting or frustrating and challenging. The secret is to provide Board Governance training for your board and staff. The best way to ensure having a productive, meaningful board that can guide your organization into the future is to invest in them with training on how a good board should work. This training can contribute to making this a very rewarding experience for your nonprofit and it’s MISSION. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is pleased to bring this valuable opportunity to SW Minnesota.

 

The session will be held Wednesday, August 12, 2015 from 8:30AM-11:30AM in Marshall. Training site location is TBD. Registration is open now at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org. The session is just $25.00 per person. Registration is limited to two people from each organization and space is limited.

 

Training will be presented by, Doris Pagelkopf, Executive Director of the United Ways of Minnesota State Association. Pagelkopf has served on numerous local, national and international boards and has conducted Governance Training across the United States and on five continents. 

 

Content Includes:

  • Solid and invigorating board meetings members won't miss
  • Board fiduciary responsibilities
  • Productive and strategic meeting agendas
  • Strong staff and board partnerships
  • Board responsibilities
  • Role of staff
  • Organization committees--what you should have and how to use them
  • Recruiting great board members
  • Handling conflict
  • How and when to create and update your strategic plan

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting change in people’s lives and the communities we serve in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles and Redwood counties of Minnesota. 


May 15, 2015
In Recognition

NR.PostOffice.jpgThank you to everyone who donated food and/or monetary donations in support of the Stamp Out Hunger food drive. Letter carriers in this area, assisted by rural carriers, collected 3,002 pounds of food and $100 from households along their mail delivery routes. The food and monetary donations were delivered to the Kitchen Table Food Shelf.

 

Helping unload mail delivery trucks, transporting items to the food shelf and completing an initial sort of the food donations were members of the Marshall Noon Rotary.  Thank you for your time and assistance.

 

Also, thank you very much to the letter carriers, rural route carriers and staff and the Marshall Post Office and other post offices in the area who worked extra hard to collect the food on May 9. Appreciation goes as well to all of the staff and volunteers at the food shelf who will prep the food for distribution to those who are hungry.

 


April 30, 2015
Nobles-Murray Rural Electric Trust Supports Imagination Library

NEC15.jpgThank you to Nobles-Murray Rural Electric Trust for awarding United Way of Southwest Minnesota $225.00 of Operation Round-Up funds to benefit the Imagination Library program.

Pictured: Josh Bonnstetter, United Way of Southwest Minnesota Board President and Tracey Haberman, Nobles Cooperative Communications Specialist.


April 30, 2015
Letter Carriers to Help Stamp out Hunger on May 9

Area residents have an opportunity to help Stamp Out Hunger by donating non-perishable, non-breakable food items on Saturday, May 9th.  Letter Carriers will collect these donated items as they make their rounds that day.  Please place your food donations by your mailbox.

 

Logo.SOH15.jpgNow in its 23rd year, the Stamp Out Hunger effort is the nation’s largest single-day food drive. Last May, letter carriers and dedicated volunteers helped collect almost 73 million pounds of non-perishable food, bringing the total to more than 1.3 billion pounds of food collected since the national drive began.

Letter carriers collect the food from local residents, bring it back to their post office and then weigh the items donated.  Rural route carriers will assist in the food collection effort, also. Members of the Marshall Noon Rotary Club will help transport food collected from the post office to the local food shelf.

 

“The Letter Carrier food drive is a simple way to help with an important community need of feeding those who are hungry. This effort helps to better ensure that the food shelves in our footprint will have an adequate supply of food for the coming months,” stated Marcy Heemeyer, Executive Director of the United Way of Southwest Minnesota.  “Please purchase a few extra grocery items this week and leave them in a sturdy container or a sack near your mail box on Saturday, May 9th.  It will make an impact in our communities and will help people in this area.”

 

Non-perishable food items like canned meats, fish, canned soup, juice, pasta, canned vegetables, cereal and rice will be appreciated. Food items should be in non-breakable containers, such as boxes and cans.  Last year, over 3,480 pounds of food and $1,325 were donated during this one day drive locally. For more information about the annual Stamp out Hunger effort, contact your local post office or log onto www.UnitedWaySWMN.org.

 

Supporting the drive again this year are National Association of Letter Carriers; United States Postal Service; Feeding America, the nation’s food bank network; National Rural Letter Carriers Association; United Way Worldwide and local United Way affiliates, such as the United Way of Southwest Minnesota.


April 28, 2015
Read for the Record

RFTR15.bookcover.jpgThe 10th anniversary of Jumpstart’s Read for the Record® will be held on Thursday, October 22, 2015.

 

This year's book is Not Norman: A Goldfish Story written by Kelly Bennett and illustrated by Noah Z. Jones. 

 

This is a humorous tale about a child who finds a new friend in an

unexpected place. With vivid illustrations and expressive language, the story is sure to engage children and adults of all ages.

 

105 volunteers across SW MN participated in Read for the Record 2014. The United Way of Southwest Minnesota has locally coordinated Jumpstart's Read for the Record the past four years.

 

Last year's book, Bunny Cakes, was read at 19 area schools, 11 libraries, 5 childcare/preschool centers and 1 radio station. This annual reading celebration highlights the need for quality early education in America by mobilizing adults and children to set a record for the largest shared reading experience. Last year, 2,383,645 children and adults from around the world read Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells.

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota will be looking for lots of volunteers for Read for the Record 2015. More details, locations, times, etc. will be shared as the date approaches. Watch the Volunteer Tab on our website, www.UnitedWaySWMN.org,  for sign up times and locations. 


April 24, 2015
It's A Great Time to Sign Up for 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota announced its partnership with 15 area libraries last winter to bring the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program to our region.  Three of the area libraries, Fulda, Slayton, and Westbrook, already had successful programs so the United Way offered additional support/materials to those existing locations while initiating the start up in the 12 remaining locations. As warmer weather approaches, please consider signing up for this valuable program and spend your summer reading even more.

 

The 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program encourages parents to read aloud at least 1000 books with their children before they enter Kindergarten. Children, when registered at a participating library, receive a canvas library bag with artwork on one side and a list of participating libraries on the other side, a reading folder with a reading log, program information and frequently asked questions. Children receive incentive prizes throughout the 1000 book journey and upon completion of the program a graduation celebration.

 

 

Participating libraries include: Fulda, Westbrook, Slayton, Marshall – Lyon County, Balaton, Cottonwood, Clarkfield, Tyler, Tracy, Minneota, Ivanhoe, Canby, Dawson, Granite Falls and Lake Benton.  

 

Any child from birth until kindergarten can sign up. Registration is ongoing at each respective library. It will take from a few months to a few years, depending on how many books you read at a time.  Developing literacy skills begins at birth and continues throughout the toddler and pre-school years. The best way to ensure a child has the skills necessary to learn to read is having someone read aloud to them.

 

For more information on 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten call 507-929-2273, visit the United Way website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org or contact your local library. This program is an initiative of United Way’s Success By 6 efforts which focus on school readiness and early literacy. Additional programming includes: Imagination Library, Wild About Kindergarten bags, summer/winter reading programs, and Born Learning Trails.  

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create long lasting change in people’s lives and the communities in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles and Redwood Counties of Minnesota.


April 22, 2015
Volunteer Value

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is very thankful for all of those who LIVE UNITED each and every day of the year through volunteerism.

 

While it is difficult to put an exact dollar value on volunteer time, in 2013 the Independent Sector estimated the value in Minnesota to be $24.31. More than 3,750 hours were logged in service hours directly benefiting the United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN) this year which equates to a volunteer value investment of more than $91,000 for our organization alone.

 

Last week, in conjunction with National Volunteer Week, the UWSWMN launched Get Connected. This easy-to-use web-based platform matches the right volunteers with appropriate opportunities in our neighborhoods. Users can search for needs based on their own interests, they can reach out to the agencies that care about the same things they care about, and they can find meaningful ways to give back. Area non-profits can use the system to post volunteer need opportunities to a larger audience.

 

This service is being offered free of charge by the United Way of Southwest Minnesota. To access simply visit our website at www.UnitedWaySWMN.org  and click the VOLUNTEER tab on the homepage. From there area non-profits and potential volunteers can get started…either to post opportunities or to look for one (or more). United Way of Southwest Minnesota is pleased to offer Get Connected as the latest way to give our neighbors the opportunity to care for one another.

 

Get Connected will do more than just create matches among the service community and private citizens; it will also help to build lasting relationships. Current United Way partner organizations were the first to gain access to the system, but the platform is now available to other qualifying organizations throughout the United Way of SW MN service area. For details contact the United Way at unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org or log on to the UWSWMN website get started. Opportunities currently listed online include both ongoing and one time opportunities.

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting change in people’s lives and the communities we serve in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles and Redwood Counties of Minnesota.


April 13, 2015
United Way of SW MN Launches Online Volunteer Platform

By creating a venue that both allows individuals to see the many ways they can make a difference and agencies to promote their needs, United Way of Southwest Minnesota has increased the potential for volunteerism and involvement in the community. Nonprofits in the area began posting their volunteer and other needs online in hopes of increasing the opportunities for community members to get involved. The online system, which is administered and sponsored by United Way of Southwest Minnesota, is called Get Connected.

 

The online platform launches to the public this week to coincide with National Volunteer Week, April 12th-18th, 2015. This easy to use system will create a  venue that both allows individuals & groups across SW MN to see the many ways they can make a difference through volunteerism and help programs and agencies promote their volunteer needs/opportunities to a larger audience.

 

Get Connected is an easy-to-use web-based platform that matches the right advocates and volunteers with the right opportunities in our neighborhoods. Users can search for needs based on their own interests, they can reach out to the agencies that care about the same things they care about, and they can find meaningful ways to give back. United Way of Southwest Minnesota is pleased to launch Get Connected as the latest way to give our neighbors the opportunity to care for one another.

 

Get Connected will do more than just create matches among the service community and private citizens; it will also help to build lasting relationships. Current United Way partner organizations were the first to gain access to the system, but the platform will be available to other qualifying organizations throughout the United Way of SW MN service area. For details contact the United Way at unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org.

 

Opportunities currently listed online include both ongoing and one time opportunities. Users can go to www.UnitedWaySWMN.org and click on the Volunteer Tab to register, review and respond to needs and volunteer opportunities.

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting change in people’s lives and the communities we serve in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles and Redwood Counties of Minnesota.


March 25, 2015
THANK YOU SOUTHWEST MINNESOTA!

United Way of Southwest Minnesota held its annual progress report to the community on Tuesday, March 24th.  The event recognized SW MN volunteers, investors and community partners and highlighted United Way’s 2014 accomplishments. In addition, the 2014-15 awards of distinction were presented and announcements about 2015 United Way initiatives were made. The event was hosted by United Way board directors, Kristi Flaten, of Granite Falls and, Tim O’Leary, of Tyler.  Marissa Davis, representing Project Search and Special Olympics was the keynote speaker along with Project Search teacher, Cathy Schlagel.

 

Awards of Distinction were presented to:

  • LIVE UNITED AWARD: Harold Deal, Barb Purves and Rosemary Hemmingson—Tracy Kitchen Table Food Shelf Lead Volunteers
  • Rising Star Award: Big Stone Therapies, Inc.
  • Campaign Ambassador of the Year: Bethany Glidden, Schwan’s Shared Services, LLC
  • Spirit of Caring Award: The Marshall Independent
  • Volunteer of the Year Award: Michelle Warme

 

Workplace Campaigns Awards of Excellence were presented to:

  • Inaugural Campaign Award: Adult Community Center, Big Stone Therapies, Fagen, Inc., Literacy Volunteers of SW MN, Lutheran Social Services, Lynd Public School, MCC Schools, Western Printing and YME Schools.
  • Outstanding Citizenship Award: Advance Opportunities, Alter Metal Recycling, Archer Daniels Midland, Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center, Hoffman & Brobst, Home Federal, KMHL Broadcasting, Marco, Marshall Area YMCA, Marshall Independent, Marshall Municipal Utilities, Microsoft, Minnwest Bank, North Star Mutual Insurance Company, Prairie Home Hospice & Community Care, Royal Tire, Runnings, SW/WC Service Cooperative, United Way of SW MN and Western Community Action.
  • Bronze Award: D & G Excavating, Hoffman & Brobst, KMHL Broadcasting Company, North Star Mutual Insurance Company, Prairie Home Hospice & Community Care and Wells Fargo.
  • Silver Award: Advance Opportunities, Bank of the West, Home Federal, Marco and Minnwest Bank-Marshall.
  • Gold Award: Big Stone Therapies, Bremer Bank, Royal Tire and United Way of SW MN.

 

2014 Highlights Included:

In addition to granting dollars to community partner programs, the United Way of Southwest Minnesota focuses internal initiatives on what it takes to have SuccessBy6; preparing children to be ready and successful when entering Kindergarten. Approximately 14,492 area children and families are being served through UWSWMN’s Success By 6 efforts this year. Three UW programs were highlighted at the event: Born Learning Trails, Imagination Library and 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.

 

2015 Announcements Included:

Unveiling of United Way’s new mission statement, which now reads: Uniting people and resources to improve lives and strengthen communities in Southwest Minnesota. Our organization will continue to unite people and resources to improve lives in the area with a focus on education, income, health, safety & well-being and hunger—the building blocks for a good quality of life. United Way of SW MN will continue to connect both human and financial resources through grants, initiatives and partnerships. Our new mission statement is a better reflection of our role and our work in SW MN.

 

GET CONNECTED

Launching next month, this easy to use system will create a venue that will allows individuals & groups across SW MN to see many ways they can make a difference through volunteerism. It will also allow programs and agencies to better promote their volunteer needs and opportunities to a larger audience.

 

Non-profits will be able to post volunteer opportunities and potential volunteers will be able to search for opportunities by zip code and/or interest area throughout the UW service area. This service will be offered free of charge by the United Way simply by visiting our website (www.UnitedWaySWMN.org) and clicking the VOLUNTEER tab on the homepage.

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting change in people’s lives and the communities we serve in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles and Redwood Counties of Minnesota.


March 23, 2015
Backstrom Named United Way of SW MN Education and Volunteer Services Coordinator

NR15.Backstrom.jpgUnited Way of Southwest Minnesota announced today that Tanya Backstrom has joined the organization as the Education & Volunteer Services Coordinator. In this role, she will provide strong, strategic, collaborative leadership focused on early childhood initiatives and volunteer management. Backstrom comes to the United Way with a wealth of experience in marketing, project management, leadership, education and volunteer coordination.     

 

Marcy Heemeyer, United Way executive director, stated, “We are excited to welcome Tanya as our new Education & Volunteer Services Coordinator.  Tanya brings a great balance of experience coordinating volunteers and working with young children and families to the role.  Her skills and talents will help United Way of Southwest Minnesota continue to focus on meeting the needs of people in our region.”

 

Backstrom most recently served as a Community Developer with AFS-USA, Inc. She holds a B.A. in Russian Language from the College of St. Catherine and is a graduate of Marshall High School. Backstrom lives in rural Marshall with her husband Peter and 4 year old daughter, Miriam. She can be reached by calling 507-929-2273 or via email at tanya.backstrom@unitedwayswmn.org.

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create long lasting community change through the building blocks of education, income (financial stability), health, safety & well-being, and hunger in the United Way of Southwest Minnesota service area. 


March 17, 2015
Lyon Lincoln Electric Cooperative and Operation RoundUp Support Imagination Library

NR.LLEC15.jpgThe United Way of Southwest Minnesota is a recipient of a $1,500 grant from Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative and Operation RoundUp to support the Imagination Library Program. Thank you to Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative and Operation RoundUp for your support of this early literacy/school readiness initiative.

 

Operation RoundUp is a voluntary, community support program designed to provide financial assistance to worthwhile projects and charities in the service area of Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative member-owners who allow the Cooperative to "round-up" their electric bills to the next highest dollar. This rounded up amount is then added to the Operation RoundUp fund.

 

Pictured: Marcy Heemeyer, Executive Director, United Way of Southwest Minnesota and Tim O'Leary, General Manager, Lyon-Lincoln Electric Cooperative.


March 16, 2015
United Way of SW MN and Wells Fargo Contest Winners Announced

United Way of Southwest Minnesota (UWSWMN), in partnership with Wells Fargo, sponsored a coloring contest drawing for children birth through Kindergarten (age 6) who live in the UWSWMN service area. Children colored a picture of Mack, a legendary Wells Fargo pony, to the best of their ability. Pictures were displayed at the United Way of Southwest Minnesota office and at Wells Fargo Bank in Marshall. Each child that submitted a coloring sheet was entered into a drawing for a chance at one of four special prize packs. The grand prize winner received a large collectable, limited-edition stuffed version of Mack the pony and a book package.  Three other winners received mini-prize packs, which included either a miniature version of Mack or another Wells Fargo Pony, El Toro, and a book package.

 

Grand Prize Winner:       Jakob Demmer, Canby, MN (Photo #1)

Mini Prize Pack #1:          Liam Hoseck, Marshall, MN (Photo #2)

Mini Prize Pack #2:          Leander Nelson, Fulda, MN (Photo #3)

Mini Prize Pack #3:          Isabela Schreier, Slayton, MN (Photo #4)

 

The coloring contest drawing was an opportunity for our region’s youngest learners to practice school readiness skills, while having fun and being creative.

The United Way of Southwest Minnesota continues its commitment to early literacy and school readiness. During the month of February, UWSWMN achieved a major milestone by distributing its 250,000th book to a local child, Alix Carlson of Iona, MN, through sponsorship of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program and honoring its first class of graduates from the 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten Program. 

 

Mack.JD.jpg Mack.LH.jpg Mack.LN.jpg Mack.IS.jpg
Photo #1 Photo #2 Photo #3 Photo #4

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting changes in people’s lives and the communities in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles, and Redwood counties. 


March 6, 2015
United Way Recognition and Celebration to be held March 24, 2015

United Way of Southwest Minnesota will hold its annual progress report to the community on Tuesday, March 24th from 3:45-5:00pm at the AmericInn in Marshall.  The event will recognize SW MN volunteers, investors and community partners and highlight United Way’s 2014 accomplishments

 

In addition, the 2014-15 awards of distinction will be presented and announcements about 2015 United Way initiatives will be made. Event MC’s are United Way board directors, Kristi Flaten, of Granite Falls and, Tim O’Leary, of Tyler. 

 

The community of SW MN is invited and encouraged to attend.  There is no fee to attend this event but reservations are appreciated by calling United Way at 507-929-2273 or via email at unitedway@unitedwayswmn.org.

 

United Way of Southwest Minnesota is an autonomous, local organization working to create lasting change in people’s lives and the communities we serve in Lincoln, Lyon, Murray, Yellow Medicine and portions of Cottonwood, Lac qui Parle, Nobles and Redwood Counties of Minnesota.




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