" If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.”  "  
― Betty Reese
Welcome to the first newsletter of the year! I want to give you an update on some of the things we accomplished with your help for the community last year. Thanks to the generosity of our business and individual donors, and the support of people like you, we were able to support over 35 local programs that impact the lives of thousands of people in our community. 
               Your support has also made a big impact through many of the initiatives that we lead in the community. Last year, over half a million dollars of food that would have been headed to the landfill was used to supplement local food pantries instead. Our volunteers logged nearly 25,000 hours, with a value of over $545,000 for our community. Over 3,000 people participated in the fall and spring Days of Caring alone! Over 650 children received assistance through our Kids First Fund, totaling over $17,000. Once again, over 20,000 meals were served in the summer to children who might not have otherwise had a hot meal to eat. On top of all of this, over 1,300 children under the age of 5 are receiving free books in the mail each month through the Imagination Library program thanks to funding from United Way, the Community Foundation, and Muscatine Charities.
               With our community partners, under the umbrella of Aligned Impact Muscatine (AIM), we are continuing to look for ways to improve outcomes everywhere from cradle to career. United Way of Muscatine continues to strive to invest our resources in areas that will have the best impact on our community, with a real focus on helping families that are struggling to become more self-sufficient. With all of the other great things that are happening in Muscatine, I look forward to the role that we can play in making this community a better place to live, work, and raise a family. It's my hope that you'll join us and get involved in whatever way you can.
 
Thank you for reading!
Shane Orr
Executive Director
Upcoming Events
Kids First Pancake Breakfast
January 18th, 7-9am
Tax Nights
Multiple Dates, See flyer below
Volunteer Contest
February 1-28
For volunteer opportunities, please visit volunteermuscatine.org
A Volunteer Opportunity with MCSA for their Point in Time Count:
MCSA is looking for volunteers to be a part of their Point-in-Time counting teams. The count is on January 30th, and everyone will meet at 4 am at MCSA. Volunteers will be assigned to teams and given lists of locations to visit, flashlights, and resources about MCSA to hand out if they encounter someone. Preferably the volunteer will have a smartphone/device to access the internet to complete surveys with anyone they find and submit them online. The count will end at 6 am at Birdsley's inside the Merrill for breakfast paid for by MCSA. Please contact Jenny Leirness at jleirness@mcsaiowa.org
or 563-264-3278 for questions or to volunteer.
Muscatine High School and West Liberty High School are partnering up to hire a part-time 300 hours (over 8 months) AmeriCorps position. This person will work with High School seniors to help them navigate the steps of the college-going process and enroll in education beyond high school. Benefits include a living allowance, housing if needed, and AmeriCorps members who complete their hours receive an educational award that can be used for student loans or future college expenses. To apply, click here .
Community Events
Middle School Christmas
The Middle School Christmas Party is always a favorite day of ours! It means so much to the kids to have a day just for them! Seeing Santa and Mrs. Claus, enjoying a 3 course meal, and ending with gifts...lots of smiles and laughs around the room!

A huge thank you to Bayer for their support and helping to get Santa and Mrs. Clause to see the kids. Another huge thank you to  Geneva Golf & Country Club  for the amazing lunch!

Breakfast at Elly's
In December, Elly put the United Way employees to work at Elly's Tea & Coffee. Thank you to everyone who came and supported the fundraiser!

Go Red Survivor Story by Rikki Hetzler

        38 seconds…think about that. Less than a minute is how often someone loses a loved one to cardiovascular disease. You may think, “I’m a woman and heart disease is a man’s disease.”, or “I’m not old enough to have to worry about that.”, or “That doesn’t happen to someone like me.”   

               At 29 years old, a wife and active mother of two young children; the furthest thing from your mind is that you need to worry about having a heart attack. At least it was for me…

               June 5 th , 2012 didn’t start out like any typical day. I sat straight up in bed at 5:30 am with chest pain and pain down my left arm. I got up, took some ibuprofen, and drank a glass of water. After 20 minutes of the pain and breaking out in a cold sweat, I got in the shower, got ready for work, and went about my day as planned. I suspected something wasn’t quite right, but didn’t think it was anything I couldn’t handle, and I even thought to myself, “I don’t have time for this!” 

               My day continued as normal until about 2:30 pm in the afternoon. At that time, I started having the same symptoms though they were much more intense and I knew something was wrong. I called my medical provider who I had seen two days previously, as he was treating me for strep throat. I gave a list of the symptoms I was experiencing and was told to go to the emergency department at our local hospital. 

               As I walked through the doors of the emergency department, I was winded, barely able to speak or breathe and had the classic “elephant on the chest” feeling you hear people describe. I was promptly placed in a room, given aspirin and nitroglycerin, and had blood drawn. The blood work came back and the next thing I knew, I was told I was getting an ambulance ride to another hospital that would be able to treat the “MI” I was having, run more tests, and prepare me for whatever surgery may be needed. 

               “But I’m only 29!”… “I can’t be having a heart attack!”

               See, the truth is, heart disease does not discriminate. It doesn’t care about your age, gender, race, or religion. It can happen to anyone. In fact, it happened to me.

               Heart disease is the number one killer of American women. It kills more women each year than all types of cancer combined, according to the American Heart Association. Heart disease also claims 610,000 lives annually in the United States or 1 in every 4 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  

Please celebrate cardiovascular disease awareness and, “Go Red” in February! 

I urge you to take control of your heart health. Learn the warning signs of heart attack and stroke and educate your loved ones. You just may save someone’s life!
Upcoming Events