April 2017

Bill Sherman: 25 Years of Stamping Out Hunger

Join Bill Sherman and other local letter carriers on Saturday, May 13 to help Stamp Out Hunger!
The crown jewel of Bill Sherman's 37 year career as a postal worker is helping to start the Stamp Out Hunger food drive locally. In the early '90s, the National Association of Letter Carriers Branch 828 knew it wanted to join in the new national Stamp Out Hunger food drive but no one had taken the lead on it yet. Sherman and his colleague Cathy Sample answered that challenge. Armed with a date (always the second Saturday in May) and a Bill Keane cartoon, the pair organized Monroe County's first Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

After weeks of preparation, the big day arrived and around 9,000 pounds of food was collected. Sherman was ecstatic. And now 25 years later, he continues to feel that joy as the donations come in, are sorted, and distributed.  

Hunger never sleeps and, despite the generosity of our community, it is difficult for food banks to keep up with increasing demands. This food drive in particular helps to meet summer food needs. Please join Bill and other letter carriers on Saturday, May 13 to help Stamp Out Hunger!

Read more about Bill Sherman >>  

United Way team members Jennifer Hottell and Barry Lessow accept the GEM Award from Maureen Noe (center), President and CEO, Indiana Association of United Ways
United Way Recognized with GEM Award

For the third consecutive year, United Way of Monroe County earned the Golden Excellence in Media (GEM) Award at the Indiana Association of United Ways State Leaders Conference. This "best in show" award for mid-sized United Ways specifically recognized  the 2016-2017 "Empowering your community. One donation at a time." fundraising campaign print materials.

Additionally, at the April 13th event, we brought home first place awards for our "Make Days (and Lives) Merry & Bright" holiday donation mailer and Thank You video along with a second place award for our "Empowering your Community" campaign kick-off event.

A panel of statewide United Way peers choose winners based on innovation, accomplishment of purpose, production quality, and measurable success.

"It's quite exciting to receive this top honor from our peers for our campaign and communications work for a third consecutive year. The winning pieces illustrate the impact of donations in action by highlighting how United Way supporters foster outcomes in the lives of real people in our community," remarked Jennifer Hottell, Community Engagement Director.

Shelley Sallee, Assistant Director, and Nancy Richman, Executive Director, with the Be More Healthy Award.
Be More Healthy with Volunteers in Medicine

Congratulations to member agency Volunteers in Medicine which recently took home the Be More Healthy Award as part of the Be More Awards hosted by the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network and sponsored by United Way and others.  In presenting the award, United Way Executive Director Barry Lessow noted that Volunteers in Medicine fills an essential need by providing free primary care, dental, and mental health services to those who could not otherwise afford them. The agency, celebrating its 10th anniversary this month, also offers treatment for acute and chronic conditions and preventative health education for citizens who are between or transitioning into health insurance as well as the uninsured in Monroe and Owen counties.

"We are so honored to have been presented with the Be More Healthy Award recognizing the many dedicated volunteers that are at the heart of the Volunteers in Medicine Clinic." said Nancy Richman, Executive Director of Volunteers in Medicine, of receiving the award.


Free Community Tax Volunteer Spotlight:
Beatris Gomez 

After hearing that the Free Community Tax Service needed bilingual speakers, Beatris Gomez decided to lend a hand. Beatris, an accounting major, saw volunteering with the Free Community Tax Service as a way to both get to know the community and build her professional experience. Through her time volunteering, she has helped Spanish-speaking clients at St. Paul Catholic Center and at the Monroe County Public Library. Her favorite part of the program? "I especially love that it is a free service for the community." 
Beatris acknowledges that while she finds filing to be a relative simple procedure, it isn't for everyone. "Not everyone has the tools or maybe knowledge to file on their own."

Beatris sees a lot of people benefit from the program, and  often hears from clients how thankful they are that this service exists. It helps thousands of people every tax season get the most of their money back.  "I cannot stress how essential I think Free Community Tax Service is for our community."

Read more >> 
Get Ready to Stamp Out Hunger: May 13th  

1 in 6 people in our region are at risk of going hungry. Of these, one-third are not income eligible for SNAP and other federal nutrition programs. This means they rely on access to healthy, nutritious food from pantries and kitchens. Last year, Hoosier Hills Food Bank distributed over 4.4 million pounds of food through programs and partner agencies in eight counties, but the need is growing.

On Saturday, May 13th, join us for Stamp Out Hunger, the largest single-day food drive in the nation. Last year, residents of Monroe County donated 39,123 pounds of food. In honor of Stamp Out Hunger's 25th Anniversary, we are challenging Monroe County residents to donate 50,000 pounds of non-perishables. 
It's easy to participate! Just fill a grocery bag (or two) with healthy, nonperishable food items in non-breakable containers and set the food by your mailbox that morning. Items will be collected throughout the day and delivered to Hoosier Hills Food Bank and other local agencies. This event will occur rain or shine, so please tie bags to protect against rain if necessary. 

Stretching a Budget with Free Tax Help  
'There are only a few hours left to file taxes, but Jamie's parents have already collected their refund. They filed early with free tax help from the Free Community Tax Service. With locations in Monroe and Owen counties, plus online at MyFreeTaxes.com, Jamie's parents were able to stay close to home and get one-on-one help filing. The added confidence in filing as well as the benefit of having an IRS-certified filer present to answer questions makes the process less of a headache. It also ensures that they get the maximum refund. The volunteers at the Free Community Tax Service showed them how they qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which allowed them to get a bigger refund.
With the extra boost, families like Jamie's are able to stretch their budgets further. Your contributions to United Way ensure that programs like the Free Community Tax Service reach community members in need.
Upcoming Events

Deadline April 18 
File your taxes from the comfort of your home
Learn more at  monroeunitedway.org/myfreetaxes 
Stamp Out Hunger
Saturday, May 13th
United Way is a proud partner

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United Way of Monroe County is a nonprofit organization that improves  people's lives by addressing critical needs today and working to reduce those needs tomorrow. Through our Community Action Fund, Priority Funds, and grant initiatives, we work with 25 member agencies and other community partners to focus resources on the building blocks for a better life: education, earnings, and the essentials.
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