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Agency hopes to hit goal for fourth straight year

By JOE CENTERS • Sep 18, 2016 at 8:00 AM

In just three years the Norwalk Area United Fund has raised more than $1 million. And all of that money stays right here at home.

That is what members of the United Fund board point to when asking people to donate. 

“I want you to be confident that money will stay in our area,” board president Mike Moore said at Wednesday’s campaign kick-off breakfast at the Norwalk Eagles Club. “We do not waste money. For 140 years we have done that.

“We have a whole new set of challenges ahead of us this year. ... And none of it could happen without you.”

Vice-president Samantha Wilhelm talked about Bridges out of Poverty, a program that stresses long-term success.

“This empowers everybody to be financially independent,” she said. “We can see their lives change for the better. We want people to go from surviving to thriving. We will make that difference we are striving for — one person and one program at a time.”

The key to keep the United Fund successful is “the ask.” If you don’t ask people to help they won’t, Wilhelm said.

With that said, the 2017 campaign is off and running with a goal of $360,000.

Funded programs for 2017 are: Reach our Youth; Norwalk Child Care Center; Norwalk Area United Fund information and programs and Bridges out of Poverty getting ahead workshops; God’s Little Critters; KinderCasa; Services for Aging; Cancer Services; Medical Assistance Program — family health services and prescription/medical care; Kidney Foundation; 2-1-1 Huron County; Catholic Charities; Wakeman Caring Community; Clothing Bank; Services for Aging; Miriam House; Erie-Huron-Richland CAC/Norwalk Emergency Shelter; American Red Cross/service to the armed forces; the Salvation Army social services and summer youth feeding program.

Three awards were handed out at the event:

• The Cornerstone Award was presented to Bob and Tom Bleile and accepted by family members.

“They are both on vacation and every day they are on vacation they deserve with all of the hard work they do,” Moore said.

• The Community Commitment Award was presented to Bill and Sheri Thomas.

• The John Elmlinger Extra Mile Award was presented to Ann Schloemer, with a special presentation made to Jim Bersche.

“I have been on the board for many years and I have always enjoyed being able to support the community and to do things outside of the norm,” Schloemer sad.

“One of the things I really enjoy now in my retirement is getting out and being part of the Norwalk Area United Fund and being part of Master Gardeners. 

“I am also very glad that I was able to win this award because I really admire and respect John. I work with him in the office and he has volunteered all of his life and he is more like a mentor.”

For more information on the Norwalk Area United Fund, call executive director Linda Bersche at 419-668-0269.



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