A Promising New Year

COVID…are we done yet?  While the reality is that this may simply become our new norm, fret not.  We have all learned how to do things differently and in some cases a little better, so as we have done the past 2 years, we will overcome.  While 2022 may not bring the promise of an end to COVID, it does promise to be one spectacular year at United Way.  Over the past year and half that I have been with this great organization, we have entered new partnerships, developed new programming, and have secured the support to provide new resources in our community. 

The new resource that I will highlight for you this month is Ride United.  Through a partnership with United Way Worldwide and Doordash, we will be able to help facilitate the delivery of prepared meals, food boxes, PPE supplies, and so much more to individuals and families in need in Owatonna, and parts of Medford.  We have started the process of reaching out to organizations that we believe may have the biggest need to get the program started.  We are guaranteed 10,000 deliveries this year with the potential to write a grant for additional support.  This is a promising new program for a promising new year!!

Another program worth mentioning, is our Tax Preparation Program.  This program was started last year in response to our local AARP tax prep site being shut down due to COVID.  We will be bringing this program back again this year starting in Mid-February.  Last year, we provided this service at our office in Owatonna.  In addition to offering tax preparation in Owatonna, our hope this year is to expand services into Blooming Prairie, Ellendale, and Medford.  Watch for more details on this program which will be offered to any individual or family in need.

We hosted our first ever Mariachi Event the beginning of this year.  Many experienced this type of music for the first time and were pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed it.  I was asked prior to the event if you can dance to Mariachi music and my response was, “try not to dance to it!”  What an amazing way to start this promising new year.  If you missed the event, check it out on OwatonnaLive.  Thank you to the Steele County Free Fair, the Steele County Historical Society, Plaza Morena, Limberg Productions, and Anel Beascochea (for the gorgeous Centerpieces) for helping us to bring this opportunity to our community. 

Everything that we have accomplished this past year is because of you.  Thank you for your support, thank you for your generosity, and most of all thank you for showing the world what it means to LIVE UNITED!!         

Annette Duncan is President of United Way of Steele County.  She can be reached at 507-455-1180