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Each year on June 21, hundreds of people throughout Itasca County come together to harness the volunteer spirit and improve lives and conditions in our communities. This year, United Way of 1000 Lakes will engage volunteers in diverse activities that improve access to healthy foods, as well as healthy habits through exercise and play.


On Wednesday, June 21st, United Way of 1000 Lakes will host more than a hundred volunteers in two communities (Deer River and Grand Rapids) to pack food, plant community gardens, install healthy prompts, and improve green spaces through painting, carpentry and masonry. Projects are designed to match a wide variety of skill levels and interests.

“Since 2013, volunteers have contributed more than 3,240 hours to local projects, which is equal to $75,250. United Ways mission is fueled by the passion and hard work of hundreds of volunteers of all walks of life who roll up their sleeves to affect positive change in their own backyards." said Kimberly Brink Smith, United Way executive director.

United Way also coordinates an annual Personal Care Drive throughout the month of June. The drive aims to help disconnected youth, victims of violence, and those struggling to meet their basic needs, including hygiene items. The care packages will be distributed to shelter programs, food shelves and other United Way’s partner programs across the greater Itasca Area.

Get involved:

Volunteer on the Day of Action:

Take time out of your day and volunteer with hands-on projects, including painting, landscaping, gardening, and yard activities. There is no fee to participate and volunteers of any age and ability are eligible to participate. Each volunteer will receive a free t-shirt. Register for a full day (8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) or half day (8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.) at Note: Thursday, June 22nd is reserved as an alternate Day of Action in case of rain.

Run a Health & Hygiene Drive:
Coordinate a collection drive at your church, organization, civic group or business. Needed items include: toothbrushes; full-size hair care products (children and adult), toothpaste, and deodorant; razors; shaving cream; laundry detergent; first aid supplies; diapers and baby wipes; feminine hygiene products; paper products (toilet paper, paper towns, Kleenex); razors, shaving cream, and new wash cloths and hand and bath towels.

Wear your Shirt:

If you cannot volunteer on Day of Action, you can still show your support for United Way by wearing your LIVE UNITED shirt on June 21st. Shirts can be purchased for $10 (includes a $5 donation to United Way) at United Way or by calling 218-999-7570.

“We hope that volunteers walk away from a Day of Action with a better understanding of United Way’s role in the community,” said Luke Francisco, United Way Board President. “We also hope that they become inspired to continue enriching our community through volunteerism. One thing I know for sure is that great communities are only created when the people who live there are willing to give back.”

The Day of Action is sponsored by Paul Bunyan Communications, ASV, Northern Star Cooperative Services, and Arrow Embroidery and Screen Printing.

For more information about volunteering or sponsoring the Day of Action, contact United Way at 218-999-7570 or For a complete list of activities and updates, visit



Since 1963, United Way of 1000 Lakes has been advancing the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all, focusing on helping children to thrive, providing basic human needs, and promoting independence and community wellness. United Way recruits people and organizations that bring the passion, expertise, and resources needed to get things done. Everyone is invited to be part of the change by giving, advocating and volunteering. That’s what it means to Live United. United Way of 1000 Lakes is a locally based organization serving Itasca area communities.



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