FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 6, 2013
United Way Rallies Volunteers for National Day of Action June 21
Each year, on June 21st, United Ways all over the world will participate in a nationwide day of service called Day of Action. This year, leading up to the longest day of the year, United Way of 1000 Lakes is partnering with the GRACE House of Itasca County to mobilize the community around the issues of homelessness and poverty by kicking off a community-wide Personal Care Drive that will wrap-up with hands-on volunteer projects at the homeless shelter on June 21st.
This day marks the longest day of the year with more daylight hours than any other and serves as an opportunity to make an impact on education, income and health, the core areas and building blocks for a good life that United Way is committed to improving.
“The Day of Action is a way for all sectors of our community to unite and work towards accomplishing the common vision of helping others. What you see today is a living testimony of our organization’s mission: to improve lives mobilizing the caring power of our communities,” said Kimberly Brink Smith, United Way executive director.
Anyone can participate in this national day of service – from championing a cause to lending a helping hand. Local churches, organizations, civic groups and businesses are encouraged to get involved: run a collection drive; grab your friends, family or co-workers and register a team; share on social media; and wear your LIVE UNITED shirt on June 21st.
Run a Collection Drive:
Coordinate a collection drive at your church, organization, civic group or business. Then drop off items at the GRACE House on the Day of Action (501 SW 1st Ave., Grand Rapids), where they will be sorted and packaged for area agencies, who will then distribute to those in need. Needed items including: toothbrushes; full-size hair care products (children and adult), toothpaste, and deodorant; razors; shaving cream; laundry detergent; first aid supplies; diapers and baby wipes; feminine hygiene products; paper products (toilet paper, paper towns, Kleenex); razors, shaving cream, and new wash cloths and hand and bath towels.
Volunteer on the Day of Action:
Take time out of your day and help your local homeless shelter with hands-on projects, including painting the building exterior and fence, landscaping, gardening, yard activities, window washing, and sorting/assembling personal care packages. There is no fee to participate and volunteers of any age and ability are eligible to participate. Each volunteer will receive a free t-shirt and lunch. Register for a full day (8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) or half day (8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) GRACE House is located at 501 SW 1st Ave. in Grand Rapids. Note: Tuesday, June 25th is reserved as an alternate Day of Action in case of rain.
Get the Word Out:
Promote the Day of Action in your community by posting flyers; wearing the Day of Action button; retweeting and sharing United Way’s posts/events with your friends, relatives and colleagues on Twitter and Facebook.
Wear your Shirt:
If you cannot volunteer on Day of Action, you can still show your support for United Way by wearing your LIVE UNITED shirt on June 21st. Shirts can be purchased for $10 (includes a $5 donation to United Way) at United Way or by calling 218-999-7570.
Nearly 50 volunteers have already signed up to participate, but organizers hopes to double their impact with 50 additional volunteers. Leading the way are Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union, KOOTASCA, Minnesota Power, Minnesota Diversified Industries (MDI) and Support Within Reach. Day of Action program will feature live music performed by iRauk.
Additional sponsors, partners and in-kind donors include: Arrow Embroidery and Screen Printing, Bloomer’s Garden Center and Landscaping; Expert Building Services; Rapids Rental & Supply, and Itasca County Habitat for Humanity.
Paint and coating products for the project is provided through a grant from the Valspar Foundation’s “Minnesota Beautiful” program. GRACE House is one of 16 community restoration and beautification projects located within the seven counties of northeastern Minnesota.
“We hope that volunteers walk away from a Day of Action with a better understanding of United Way’s role in the community,” said Laura Connelly, United Way Board President. “We also hope that they become inspired to continue enriching our community through volunteerism. One thing I know for sure is that great communities are only created when the people who live there are willing to give back.”
If you or your company is interest in volunteering, proving in-kind donations or sponsoring the Day of Action, contact Kimberly Brink Smith, at 218-999-7570 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For a complete list of activities and updates, connect on facebook at www.facebook.com/UnitedWayof1000Lakes.
Facts about homelessness:
In January, the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation conducted a homelessness study that identified 86 homeless households living in Itasca County. These individuals do not have access to any shelter or prevention program and are living on the streets, in cars, abandoned buildings, or places not fit for human habitation.
Homelessness in Itasca County has increased by 22 percent over the past three years.
Lack of available and affordable housing is the no. 1 contributing factor to homelessness in Itasca County.
Six out of 10 guests served by GRACE House are residents of Itasca County.
KOOTASCA prevented homelessness for 221 households that were homeless, or in unstable or substandard housing.
In 2012, Advocates for Family Peace provided emergency safe housing for 71 women, and 82 children. Transitional housing was provided for 21 women, and 51 children escaping domestic abuse.
Last year, GRACE House served 211 guests, of these 63 percent successfully secured stable housing by their 30 day stay.
First Call 2-1-1 staff made 503 referrals to (homeless or imminently homeless households) KOOTASCA’s Crisis Housing Programs: Short-term Rental Assistance, or Transitional Housing.
Last year, the Salvation Army provided housing support services for 42 homeless households, 32 families and 10 single individuals.
AEOA provided independent living skills for 56 youth and homeless prevention services for 35 youth in 2012.
ABOUT UNITED WAY OF 1000 LAKES
Since 1963, United Way of 1000 Lakes has been advancing the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all, focusing on helping children to thrive, providing basic human needs, and promoting independence and community wellness. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise, and resources needed to get things done. Everyone is invited to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. That’s what it means to Live United. United Way of 1000 Lakes is a locally based organization serving Itasca area communities.