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The 2013 United Way of 1000 Lakes 2013 campaign aims to raise $305,000 for greater Itasca County human service programs and initiatives. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Unleash your Inner Hero!”

“There is a hero inside all of us, someone selfless, caring and compassionate, willing to champion for those less fortunate. Together we can help our youth reach their full potential, support the aging, improving people’s health and promoting self-sufficiency”, said Kimberly Brink Smith, United Way Executive Director.

Leading up to the campaign, United Way hosted a Lumberjack Kick-off Breakfast for the community on the grounds of Old Central School on August 24th. The morning served up over 500 pancakes and featured living history players from the Forest History Center, who entertained the 150 adults and children who attended. The event also featured the second annual Pancake Cook-off and Flip Relay competitions.

At the breakfast, it was announced that $25,000 has been raised to date through early workplace campaigns. Early employee campaigns include Wal-Mart, Target, Essentia Health and UPS, this year’s Campaign Pacesetter. The Pacesetter sets the pace and leads the way for others in our community to follow.

Also announced were the FAB5: Katie Cargill, D.D.S, Northern Lakes Dental; Matt Grose, Superintendent of Deer River Public Schools; Laura Connelly, Advocates for Family Peace; Guy Clairmont, Clairmont Financial President; and Peter McDermott, MDI President & CEO. The FAB5 will serve as Campaign Chairs and lead the fundraising efforts.

The Forest History Center Camp Cooks was presented the Cook-off Award for their tradition lumberjack breakfast of a stack of sweat pads and black strap syrup by Senator Saxhaug, one of the community judges.  Other judges included, Michelle (Boller) Anderson of the Iron Range Maidens, Jack Muhar, County Attorney, and Jay Zapzalka of UPS.

The Grand Rapids Key Club competed against three relay teams for the Pancake Flip Relay title. Other teams participating at the breakfast included, Timberlake Lodge Hotel, Grand Itasca Clinic and Hospital, and Kiwanis.

The event was underwritten by Roessler, Dales Auto Body, Paul Bunyan Communications, Minuteman Press Lefty’s Tent and Party Rental, Kiwanis and UPS. Other support was provided by Ogles Marketplace, Sandstrom’s, Land O’ Lakes, Target, Wal-Mart, Cub Foods, Brewed Awakenings, Farmer’s Market, UPM Blandin, Waste Management, Northland Portables and Staging by Kathy.

Last year’s campaign raised $303,175 to support a network of more than 40 programs and initiatives that together, help people achieve positive, long-lasting change. United Way focuses on helping children succeed in school and life, providing tools for individuals and families to become financially stable, and addressing the critical basic needs of individuals and families experiencing hunger and homelessness.

Your gift will not only help United Way reach their goal; more importantly, it will be invested back into the community, where it is needed most. If you have made a donation already, thank you. If you have not, please consider a generous gift through a workplace campaign or by sending a contribution directly to United Way of 1000 Lakes. You may donate on-line at and click on the “How to Donate” button, or mail your contribution to United Way of 1000 Lakes, 350 NW 1st Ave., Suite A, Grand Rapids, MN  55744.

Upcoming Events:

Small Business Blitz, where more than a dozen United Way volunteers call on small business owners and their employees to pledge funds to the United Way of 1000 Lakes. Funds raised stay in the Itasca County area for nearly 40 programs that focus on Education, Health and Income Stability.

Dining United is a program where local restaurants have pledged to donate a percentage of their proceeds to the United Way 2013 Campaign. Starting in October, simply dine out at participating restaurants and help more than 40 programs and initiatives across Itasca County.

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