Packaging Corporate of America (PCA) employees in International Falls were handed a donut and information on United Way of Northeastern Minnesota (UWNEMN) to start their days last week with the goal they “donut forget to donate” to the local United Way campaign this year.
UWNEMN staff and volunteers were at the local business before sun-up Sept. 19 and 20 on behalf of this year’s United Way campaign. PCA employee and UWNEMN board member Julie Ehrman was among those handing out donuts and said the 2019 UWNEMN campaign is more important than ever because the local Power of the Purse event is taking a year off and won’t be held this November.
“We are hoping that the event will be back next year if we can bring new volunteers into the planning process, but in the meantime, in order to maintain the level of services being provided to our community members, we need to support this wonderful, impactful organization,” Ehrman said.
All donations made to UWNEMN stay local and benefit UWNEMN’s Koochiching County programs such as: Buddy Backpacks, Imagination Library, Smiles United, Comforts of Home, and United for Veterans as well as local nonprofit agencies: Falls Hunger Coalition, Salvation Army, Koochiching Aging Options, Friends Against Abuse, and Servants of Shelter.
Retired Boise Paper employee Mike Silvers worked at the mill for more than 40 years and has been volunteering with the local United Way for more than 25 years.He volunteers his time to deliver more than 5,000 UWNEMN Buddy Backpack meal kits to Koochiching County Schools during each school year.
Silvers joined Ehrman and UWNEMN staff to hand out donuts and United Way information this month and said many people he talked to were surprised to know that their donations to United Way of Northeastern Minnesota stay local.
“The coolest thing happened when we were handing out donuts and pledge cards,” he said. “I was talking about the Buddy Backpack program, and a young man grinned and told me he had been a recipient of the program.Seeing this kid and knowing that he now has a great job at the mill made it all come full circle for me.”
“We are so fortunate in so many ways,” said Ehrman. “We live in this beautiful area and have good jobs.Supporting our local United Way is a great way to give back – all donations stay here in Koochiching County.When we help each other, our community as a whole is stronger.”
UWNEMN has also made direct contact with other Koochiching County businesses, employees, and residents.
“UWNEMN is grateful for our long history of support with PCA and its predecessor, Boise Paper,” said UWNEMN Resource Development & Events Director Elizabeth Kelly.“From millwrights to laborers, bankers to nurses, firefighters to teachers, I’ve loved spreading the word about supporting UWNEMN in Koochiching County and our local programming.We encourage residents to give at whatever level they feel comfortable and trust that their dollars are being invested well within their communities.”