One focus of the Fremont Area United Way is to assist, teach and empower individuals and families in Dodge and Washington Counties in meeting their rent, utilities and food needs.

In an effort to make that goal a reality the Fremont Area United Way, with help from over 200 local volunteers, will be packaging 40,000 meals for area youth at the Campaign Kick-Off and Food Packaging Day on Aug. 18 at First Lutheran Church, 3200 E. Military Ave.

The day starts at 8:30 a.m. with a Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce Coffee and volunteer registration, followed by a 30-minute-long presentation at 9 a.m. followed by the packaging of food from 9:30 through 2:30 p.m.

“The community really rallies around this event and our volunteer opportunities fill up fast,” Shawn Shanahan, Executive Director of Fremont Area United Way, said.

Following Chamber Coffee at 9:30 a.m. there will be a short program that will feature this year’s Campaign Co-Chairs Brett and Heidi Richmond, as well as a presentation by Shanahan on food needs in the community.

“Our Campaign Chairs will be sharing information about why they chose to be the chairs this year, and their past involvement and interest in United Way,” Shanahan said.

The presentations will lead into the packaging of 40,000 meals which will provide a year’s worth of meals in the district’s backpack program. The meals, which will be minestrone soup, will also be distributed to Low Income Ministry, Salvation Army and Joseph’s Coat.

“They will all stay here locally,” Shanahan said. “So the meals will go out to children, families, and individuals throughout our community who need food.”

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Volunteers work on assembly groups comprised of 10 people and pack meals for one hour and 15 minutes, with the goal of packaging 40,000 meals at the end of the day.

With the Food Packaging Day also serving as this year’s Campaign Kick-Off and according to Shanahan the organization has several goals for this year’s campaign.

“We are hopeful to gain five new workplace campaigns this year and we are also challenging all of our workplace partners to increase contributions and awareness,” she said. “So we are challenging people to increase, and we are also working hard to move to our impact model of measuring results so that we can truly show the donors that their donor dollars are making an impact and creating positive change in our community.”

According to information on United Way’s website the initiative based community impact is taking a specific problem in the community and focusing funding and efforts to address the problem. This is done in collaboration with other organizations by leveraging funding, expertise and resources.

“We continue to see revenue growth with outcomes and significant service delivery amongst our partnering agencies and we do a great job of being stewards of our donor dollars,” Shanahan said.

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