United Way of Eastern La Salle County launched its annual fall campaign Monday in the hopes of raising $245,000.
The campaign ends Nov. 6, but residents are able to donate to United Way’s numerous organizations throughout the year.
United Way supports five programs Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, School Tools, Labor of Love, Paw Pals and 211. Executive Director Sally Honiotes said the funds will go to the programs and are looking to expand a few programs.
Heading the campaign is Ottawa Police Chief Brent Roalson and K-9 Rookie.
“When Sally asked me to come on board it was a no brainer,” Roalson said. “This is my community … without places like United Way to offer those programs and direct those donated funds. They don’t get where they need to go.”
United Way of Eastern La Salle County brings together donors, volunteers, agency partners and community leaders to tackle the challenges faced in the Eastern La Salle County communities of Dayton, Grand Ridge, Harding, Leland, Marseilles, Naplate, Norway, Ottawa, Seneca, Serena, Sheridan and Wedron, according to a news release.
“We serve the people of our community,” Honiotes said. “From newborn to seniors. We have programs that help all ages … we have a phenomenal community and the people are incredibly generous. We have already reached 21% of our goal.”
One program United Way is excited about is Paw Pals.
“We have three schools so far that we want to provide dogs too,” she said. “It’s not just the dogs we will provide vet care and training.”
Roalson said the program helps not only relieve stress of the students, but also the community members.
“Dealing with mental health and mental health awareness, I think is the biggest thing,” he said.
For those in need of help, but don’t know what resources are available, United Way offers 211, a 24/7 live hotline that provides the caller with information on any relief they may need.
“It’s a big part to solve for people, just knowing where to go,” Roalson said. “Everybody knows you call 911 you can get police, fire, EMS or whatever. 211 fits that same bill. So if you’re looking for those resources that you may not be able to find ... 211 actually provides local referrals.”
Honiotes said the next program will be Labor of Love, which will take place on Saturday, Oct. 7.
“There’s a lot of really good things happening here,” she said. “I don’t think we talk about it enough and United Way’s one of them … this a way to give back to the community and to give whatever amount you’re comfortable with. But, it does make an impact.”
For information about UWELC or donate, visit www.unitedway.org or donate in person at 601 State St. in Ottawa.