United Way campaign begins

Jordan Beck | Daily Press Lisa Temple, a case worker for the Salvation Army in Escanaba, packs a food basket in the Salvation Army’s pantry Monday. The Salvation Army is one of several organizations in the area whicht partners with the United Way of Delta County, which has started its annual fall fundraising campaign.

ESCANABA — With the annual Soup’r Chili Challenge completed last week, the United Way of Delta County (UWDC) has begun working on its fall fundraising campaign for 2017. The goal of this year’s campaign is to encourage as many local people and businesses as possible to financially support the UWDC.

“It really does take everyone to make this successful,” UWDC Executive Director Julie Mallard said.

The Soup’r Chili Challenge serves as the kickoff for the UWDC’s fall campaign each year. Mallard said she and the UWDC’s volunteers have already begun the process of distributing campaign materials to local businesses.

According to Mallard, the majority of the support received by the UWDC during the campaign comes from donations deducted from employee paychecks.

“That’s really the lifeblood of our United Way campaigns,” she said.

She noted this is due in part to the fact that paycheck donations give local workers a convenient way to set up a recurring donation to the United Way.

“A lot of people find it easy to give … through payroll deductions,” Mallard said. She also said people can choose to make one-time donations through their workplaces.

However, paycheck donations are not the only way people can financially support the UWDC.

“They can give through our website with (their) credit card,” Mallard said. Donors can also mail a check or a pledge to be billed to the UWDC.

In addition to making direct donations, people in the area can support the UWDC through various special events throughout the year. Mallard said the most prominent is UPtoberfest, an annual beer and wine festival.

“It is, by far, the biggest (special event) fundraiser to support the United Way,” she said. This year’s UPtoberfest will be held at Escanaba’s municipal dock on Saturday, Oct. 14, from 2 to 7 p.m.

No matter how people choose to support the UWDC, Mallard noted contributions will stay in Delta County. The UWDC’s current partners include the Alzheimer’s Association, Bay Cliff Health Camp, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, Catholic Social Services, the Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action Agency’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Girl Scouts of the Northwestern Great Lakes, Hope at the Inn, the Salvation Army, the Special Olympics, Tri-County Safe Harbor, and Welcome Newborns.

“It’s a wide variety of programs, basically helping everyone — from infants to the elderly,” Mallard said.

For 2017, donations to the UWDC will also support a pair of newly-introduced United Way programs. Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library provides monthly free books to children in the area from their birth to their fifth birthday, while the Little Free Library program gives readers of all ages an opportunity to share books via special boxes placed in Delta County’s communities.

“We’re hoping to attract new donors with that,” Mallard said.

Mallard encouraged residents to donate what they can during the UWDC’s fall campaign.

“It doesn’t have to be a large donation to make a difference,” she said.

For more information on the UWDC, or to make a donation, visit the website www.uwdelta.org.