United Way launches new fund-raising effort

United Way launches new fund-raising effort Vermillion area residents enjoyed a "taste of Vermillion" Sept. 7 at the USD Foundation Building to help kick off the 2001 fund-raising campaign of the Vermillion Area United Way. Several dining establishments brought a wide variety of food selections and served them buffet style. So many people turned out for the kick-off that at one point organizers worried there wouldn't be enough food. Local restaurants, however, made an extra effort, bringing more food to make sure no one would leave hungry. by David Lias With the theme "Bridging the Community," the Vermillion Area United Way formally kicked off its 2001 fund-raising campaign by hosting a "taste of Vermillion."

Vermillion citizens had the opportunity to dine on fine food offered by several of the community's dining establishments at the event, which was held Sept. 7 at the USD Foundation Building.

There was something profoundly different, however, about this year's kick-off.

More than just a trickle of interested citizens made their way through the food line at the event.

They came in droves, eager not only for fellowship, but apparently also determined to make sure that the 2001 fund-raising campaign in Vermillion is successful.

The Vermillion Area United Way board of directors' goal is to raise $76,000.

Over 98 percent of the funding raised by the United Way stays in the Vermillion community.

The dollars in this latest United Way campaign will be distributed to agencies that fulfill four important roles in the region: health care; youth, seniors and special needs; social support; and environment and culture.

Health care

In the area of health care, funding will be distributed to Sioux Valley Vermillion Hospice, Sioux Valley Vermillion Homecare and the Clay County Rescue Association.

The Sioux Valley Vermillion Hospice assists the terminally ill with physical, emotional, social and spiritual assistance regardless of ability to pay.

Sioux Valley Vermillion Homecare provides intermittent nursing care and other therapeutic services to individuals in their homes regardless of their ability to pay.

The Clay County Rescue Association provides equipment and support to emergency response teams in Clay County.

Youth, seniors,

and special needs

The United Way will provide financial assistance to several local organizations that fall under this category. They are:

* Vermillion Red Cross Swimming Lessons. Hundreds of area children have learned to swim through this summer program operated through Vermillion's Park and Recreation Department.

* Sioux Council Boy Scouts. Over 300 boys and girls in Clay County are provided a comprehensive youth development program.

* John and Connie Vucurevich Children's Center (formerly the Mathilda Geppert Childcare Center). The center provides a quality infant and toddler childcare program for low-income parents.

* Sioux Trails Girl Scouts Council. The council helps girls develop as resourceful individuals and provides community service through local care projects.

* Sioux Council Boy Scouts. Over 300 youth in Clay County are provided a comprehensive youth development program.

Social support

* Organizations under this category targeted to receive United Way funding from the 2001 campaign are:

* Clay County Child Protection Team. This organization provides parenting workshops and school presentations to prevent child abuse and neglect.

* Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The coalition provides psychological, physical and legal support and maintains a 24 hour hotline and safe houses for victims of domestic violence.

* Vermillion Food Pantry. The food pantry is made up of community volunteers organized to collect and distribute food to people in need.

* Senior Citizens Center. The center supports and promotes activities for seniors in Vermillion and Clay County.

* Senior Nutrition Center. This organization promotes senior nutritional support through daily meals at the Senior Citizens Center and by delivery of meals to the homebound.

* South East Transit. This is a source of transportation for all citizens, including the elderly and those with disabilities.

* Southeast SD Activities Center (SESDAC). This facility provides services and support to those with developmental disabilities.

* Big Friend/Little Friend. The goal of this organization is to match qualified adult volunteer mentors with youth ages 5 to 17.

Environment and culture

Two local organizations defined under this category will receive United Way funds. They are:

* Friends of the W. H. Over Museum. This group provides South Dakota historic and contemporary museum exhibits and educational programs.

* Vermillion Area Arts Council. The council provides cultural enrichment through arts education and special events.

The executive director of the Vermillion Area United Way is Barbara Campbell.

Officers of the United Way Board of Directors are Phyllis Packard, president, Randy Houska, vice president and Janis Schaner, secretary/treasurer.

Board members are Gary Girard, John Gors, Lisa Ketcham, Mary Merrigan, Connie Nelsen, Kathy Prasek, Jon Robertson, Theresa Wingen and Chuck Gors.

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