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Neighbors Helping Neighbors

United Way of Dickinson County resumes its annual fundraising campaign

MELISSA PALOMAKI, director of the Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library run through the Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District, looks at some of the program’s books available during the United Way of Dickinson County fundraising campaign kickoff Thursday at Pine Grove Country Club in Iron Mountain. The Imagination Library was among the programs at the event that receives money through the United Way. (Marguerite Lanthier/Daily News photo)

By Daily News staff

IRON MOUNTAIN — The United Way of Dickinson County officially launched its Neighbors Helping Neighbors fundraising campaign Thursday at Pine Grove Country Club.

About 70 people attended the kickoff event. It marks the first time since 2019 the United Way has been able to resume what had been an annual fundraising effort after being curtailed during the pandemic.

The long break has meant “it’s almost like starting over” with getting the campaign back in gear, said Barb Messer, executive director.

More than half of Dickinson County’s residents used one or more of United Way-supported agencies in the past year, Messer said, adding that inflation, higher gas prices, a tight housing market and other factors had created even more pressures.

“The needs are great,” Messer said. “There are some new needs, too … the needs are greater than they were before.”

Past United Way efforts have helped donate 2,500 Reach Out & Read books to 27 local doctors, instilled bully prevention in four schools, provided day care for 20 to 30 seniors and completed 39 Habitat for Humanity projects.

Some of the area agencies that stand to benefit from the campaign include:

— Bay Lakes Council Boy Scouts of America, which in spring received funding to replace the Cub Scouts’ Pinewood Derby equipment;

— Caring House Inc., which addresses domestic and sexual assault in the community through education, advocacy and other appropriate interventions and offering a save haven for victims;

— Dickinson County Proud Equestrian Program, which hosts a week of horseback riding instruction for 20 to 30 physically challenged youth and young adults;

— Family Ties Adult Center, which offers day care services to adults with dementia so their caregivers can attend to personal needs or take a break;

— Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes;

— Habitat for Humanity Menominee River, which works to help people in the community by building and renovating houses and improving neighborhoods through home repair projects.

— Imagination Library-Great Start and Intermediate School District, which offers early literacy opportunities from birth to age 5 in Dickinson County;

— Northwoods AirLifeline, a service that uses volunteer pilots to provide air transportation at no cost to medical patients who need treatment at distant facilities;

— Our Place Community Center and Imagination Factory Children’s Museum, which creates positive activities for children, youth, adults, families and the elderly.

Thursday’s event was sponsored by First Bank and We Energies Foundation. BOSS Snowplow donated a Toro lawnmower as the grand prize for the evening.

The fundraising campaign is expected to extend into January. For more information on how to contribute, go to www.unitedwaydickinson.org or email unitedwaydickinsoncounty@gmail.com.

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