Fall brings the end of the Minnesota golf season, the start of the hunting season, and the kick-off of the United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN) campaign. This year, it is more important than ever to support our local United Way and all of its agencies and programs.

When you want to know all you can about something, you consult “the experts.” For instance, if you want to know about taxes, give me a call. If you want to know about the issues in our local communities and what is being done to solve them, call UWNEMN. I urge you to welcome UWNEMN into your places of business this fall for campaign meetings. If you work at a place that does not currently hold UWNEMN meetings, ask if the staff can be brought in. This organization and its staff will open your eyes to the needs in our communities, and they will undoubtedly assure you that your dollars are being invested locally in the best ways possible. They will educate you on all that is being done locally to address targeted issues. They are the community experts.

UWNEMN strives to make an impact for all of us on the Iron Range. When our children are prepared to be successful, we all win. When our people are empowered to lead healthy, independent lives, we are all stronger. When our local families and individuals have stability, we all benefit. United. That’s what it’s all about.

Time and time again I’ve said that it breaks my heart to imagine children who go home on weekends and don’t have enough to eat. Heck, I can’t get over it. Knowing that UWNEMN is there to provide Buddy Backpacks and that I can volunteer and donate to be a part of this effort eases my mind. You can support Buddy Backpacks by volunteering, buying a Bucks for Backpacks raffle ticket, or by making a donation. The raffle is a great way to support Buddy Backpacks – plus there’s a fun drawing party for all who buy tickets.

In addition to providing programs like Buddy Backpacks, Imagination Library, United for Veterans, and others, UWNEMN raises funds and allocates them to local nonprofit agencies. I’ve been a part of the fund distribution process for several years. Every year, I’m surprised at how much these organizations do in our communities. If there was an unlimited supply of donations, I’d love for us to fulfill all of the requests. However, we as a Board have to make difficult decisions as to how to allocate the dollars available in order to make the greatest impact. This is where you come in. When you give, you become an “expert” in supporting our communities; your donations stay local and help support these incredible agencies – and all of UWNEMN’s great work.

Your help and support are critical this year. Donations to UWNEMN stay local. They have direct, local impact on Iron Rangers, in our communities. Trust me, as UWNEMN Board President, I am an expert.

Bucks for Backpacks raffle tickets are on sale now. Winners will be announced at the drawing party on Oct. 3 at The Sawmill Saloon & Restaurant in Virginia. Need not be present to win. For more information, contact info@unitedwaynemn.org or 218-254-3329 – or visit www.unitedwaynemn.org.

Paul Janssen

Board President

UWNEMN

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