United Way of Gorge hands out 2014 money, with youngsters’ help

Denise Harrison, development manager for Start Making A Reader Today, Northeast Region, talks with Hood River Mayor Paul Blackburn, right, and United Way board member Jeff Heater.

Photo by Kirby Neumann-Rea.
Denise Harrison, development manager for Start Making A Reader Today, Northeast Region, talks with Hood River Mayor Paul Blackburn, right, and United Way board member Jeff Heater.

United Way of the Columbia Gorge (UWCG) allocated funding to 35 local non-profit programs in Klickitat, Hood River, Wasco and Skamania counties at the annual agency social July 23 at Best Western Plus Hood River Inn. A team of 60-plus Gorge volunteers raised $205,000 which has been channeled to a diverse group of human service agencies.

The event usually involves networking and partaking of ample hors d’ouevre along with the handing out of checks to agency representatives, and this year was no different, but it came with a pleasant twist: the checks were hand-delivered by a young committee of future allocations committee members: youngsters Gigi and Anthony Regalbuto and Evelynn and Marlin Shilrock, toddler children of Scott and Krista Shilrock.

Many local non-profit agencies need financial support beyond their own annual fundraising efforts, according to United Way manager Ali Church. Organizations such as SMART, FISH Food Bank, Helping Hands Against Violence and CASA, rely on these extra funds from the United Way, which often times mean the difference between being able to provide, rather than deny, children and adults the services they desperately need.

2015 Partner Agencies:

American Red Cross – Disaster Relief; Backpacks for Kids; Gorge CASA; Columbia Gorge Children’s Advocacy Center; Emergency Voucher Program; Families First/Parenting Education – The Next Door; First Book; FISH Food Bank; Habitat for Humanity; HAVEN; Heart of Hospice Foundation; Helping Hands Against Violence; Hood River County Christmas Project- Meal Program; Hood River County Disaster Response Program; HRVHS On-Campus Mental Health Program; Oregon Trail Transitional Housing Program – NDI; Klickitat County Senior Services; Mentors for Success – The Next Door; NAMI – Skamania County; New Hope Farms; Opportunity Connections; Pioneer Potlatch; RAICES – The Next Door; Skamania County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault; Skamania County Senior Services – Food & Transportation; Skamania Klickitat Community Network; St. Francis House; SMART – Wasco, Sherman and Hood River Counties; The Dalles Community Meal; The Dalles Meals on Wheels; Volunteer Services - Klickitat Co.; WINGS; WGAP Community Youth Center; WGAP Klickitat County Food Banks; WGAP Programs for Peaceful Living.

“Our local United Way is extraordinary in that it is fueled by local volunteers helping local people,” said Jeff Heater, UWCG Board Member. “Our process is really about uniting people and funds to make a real impact in our community.”

Each non-profit agency that applied for funding was thoroughly screened, interviewed and selected by a volunteer committee of Columbia Gorge residents representing the five counties. The 35 selected programs will be honored at the annual United Way Agency Social on July 23 at the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn. A list of 2015 funded agencies is included below.

For information on becoming a volunteer, or donating to the United Way of the Columbia Gorge, contact the local office at 541-386-6100 or PO Box 2, Hood River, OR; or visit their website at www.unitedwaycolumbia-gorge.org. A Community “Wish List” for volunteer and in-kind donation needs within United Way funded agencies can also be accessed on the website.

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