United Way of Mower County Gets a Financial Boost

January 26, 2017 07:27 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- An organization that has touched virtually every person in Mower County got a financial shot in the arm on Thursday.

“A dollar can go a long way," said Steven Salinas, who coordinated the United Way campaign among employees of the Hormel Foods plant in Austin.


So if you can make good things happen with a dollar, imagine if you had a lot of them.

"$135,671 to be exact," said Salinas.

The money will support 55 programs run by 26 different agencies.

"I think it's really important for people to understand that their money stays local, that it makes an impact here in Mower County where they live," said United Way Executive Director Diane Baker.

This year's countywide United Way campaign goal is $1,225,000. The United Way fell just short of the same goal a year ago.

It's the most ambitious target ever.

The contribution from employees at the Hormel foods plant pushes the United Way to within four percent of its goal.

"With the Christmastime just ending, we saw a need with baskets and toys, obviously we need it now with our food shelf and backpack program," said Captain David Amick at the Austin Salvation Army.

"The needs do continue to increase, and new programs continue to come forward and we want to support those," Baker said. “It's not just families in need like we think of basic needs, but it's also educational support and health initiatives that really try to make an impact to make everyone's lives better."

"One of the big things they do is the winter coat drive. They actually would go to the schools and say what needs are out there," said Salinas.

And like with our household budgets, the agencies are often one unexpected expense from financial thin ice.

"A few years ago we had the big winter storm that came up that really hurt us with our rent and utilities assistance, in fact it wiped us pretty much clean," said Amick.

And even with the goal in site, it probably won't fill all the need

"And I don't ever necessarily see that happening, but you know we're going to make a good dent and continue to make an impact," Baker said.

The Austin Hormel plant has 1,800 employees.


Dan Conradt

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