Despite the challenges, 2020 was a successful year of fundraising for the United Way of Steele County. President Annette Duncan reacted to one of the biggest campaign years ever while accepting a donation from Cash Wise Foods in Owatonna.

She exclaimed, "We are just so excited to have partners like Cash Wise in our community who really step up to the plate to help ensure that everybody that needs services when they're in crisis can get them...We closed out the campaign almost to goal to the tune of $779,000 which is our third-largest campaign...even in COVID climate...We're going to be able to make of our commitments for 2021 to our external partners."

Duncan added that a couple more services are available, "We have two new initiatives. We've got tax preparation. Before, senior center used to help with that. But they can't with COVID. So United Way is doing that. It's available to anybody...We also doing Volunteers United. So if people are looking for a variety of different volunteer opportunities, we've got a database that we are putting together."

Duncan also indicated, "People who have never had to request services before, have had to. So there's definitely an increase in the need for services. And our partner agencies weren't necessarily prepared to transition in this COVID environment."

Cash Wise Store Director Keith Ramm said, "The last few months of the year we did the round-up on the front end to collect for the United Way campaign and we raised over $1,300 dollars. I thought it was a pretty good deal that we got the money we did." Cash Wise has also made numerous donations to Community Pathways, aka the Steele County Food Shelf, during the pandemic, "We try to switch gears and get the team rallied to be able to go after it."

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