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Tanya Hasbargen/United Way: Feeding the community with more than just food

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All I can think about is food. I am not hungry, nor do I crave a sweet. Now, I could be thinking about food because this coming week is full of food-related activities that support United Way.

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Paul Bunyan Broadcasting is hosting Pizza Day for United Way on Tuesday and on Thursday, 22 area restaurants are participating in Restaurant Day for United Way.

However, I am actually thinking about food and the role it plays in our lives. How it supports our emotional, mental, physical and social well-being. And, in a similar fashion, how United Way supports this community’s emotional, mental, physical and social well-being.

United Way has identified three areas that represent the building blocks for a good life — education, income (financial stability), and health. Today, I want to show how United Way supports the building block of health in the lives of our neighbors in the Bemidji area.

United Way strives to improve people’s health and social well-being by funding critical programs and services. Because of United Way funding, Upper Mississippi Mental Health Center was able to serve 956 children and adolescents in need of mental health therapeutic services. Northwoods Caregivers provided 156 children with either a supervised visit with their parents or a safe place for their parents to change custody. Hope House was able to provide rehabilitation for 142 adults with serious and persistent mental illness. Senior citizens were provided 11,528 meals in a congregate setting at the Paul Bunyan Senior Center; and for homebound seniors, Meals on Wheels delivered 26,759 meals last year. The Village of Hope homeless shelter provided an opportunity to end the cycle of homelessness for 35 families, representing 143 homeless individuals. Because of Northern Dental Access Center and United Way’s support, 5,200 children and adults received dental care.

These are just a few examples of the agencies and services that strengthen our community with their servant leadership. United Way supports additional programs and services for our neighbors here in the Bemidji area. I encourage you to call me at 444-8929 or visit UnitedWayBemidji.org to learn about additional programs and services that are available.

Now, back to thinking about food. Please take the time to support the nutritional needs of your body by eating pizza on Tuesday and visiting the supportive restaurants participating in Restaurant Day on Thursday. Then, think about how you and your support of United Way, makes a world of difference to the health of your neighbors. It takes each and every one of us to come together and care for the wonderful community we have in Bemidji. So, sign-up to donate through your workplace, visit UnitedWayBemidji.org and give online, or mail a donation in to the United Way office at Box 27, Bemidji, MN 56619. Make a world of difference. Support United Way of Bemidji Area.

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