Business News |Sep 5, 2018|6 min read

MUSKEGON – United Way of the Lakeshore is celebrating 100 years of service to the greater Muskegon area in 2018.  The fall giving campaign launches with the theme, “100 Years of Caring, 100 Days of Giving”, from September to December.


The tradition of beginning the campaign season with a Day of Caring continues with plans for over 500 area employees, volunteers, supporters, partners and community leaders joining together on one day to lend a hand for the benefit of their fellow man.


Muskegon County Day of Caring will take place on Friday, September 7, 2018.  This year marks the 25th year for Day of Caring.  United Way is focusing on the community members that have already served and done so much for our country – our Veterans. Calling Day of Caring OPERATION UNITED, volunteers will be assisting 19 local veteran families with minor home repair, home improvement, and landscaping, as well as working on the Veteran’s Memorial Park and sorting school supplies for 23 elementary schools in the county. Working at the Park is particularly appealing to us at United Way since we helped create the park back in 1934, and because it serves to remind us of the challenges and needs of our local military families and veterans.  For those who can’t come out and serve, there is still a way you can help through Operation Gratitude – you can write letters of support to our military troops and first responders thanking them for their service.   And if you can’t volunteer, you can give back by choosing to help another or being a sponsor.   If you are interested please go to www.unitedwaylakeshore.org under the events page, or contact Dominique Bunker at dominique@unitedwaylakeshore.org or (231) 332-4006.


The day will begin with breakfast provided by the Muskegon Lion’s Club, a patriotic observation followed by the United Way Community Campaign Kick-Off at 31 East Clay Avenue where Campaign Chair and Mayor of Norton Shores, Gary Nelund will announce this year’s campaign goal set at $2.5 million.  Currently, several organizations are serving as pacesetters by running early campaigns.  Those companies include: Cannon Muskegon, ADAC, Muskegon Community College, United Way of the Lakeshore campus, ARC and area schools.  The campaign officially ends on December 10, 2018.


Oceana County Day of Caring, will be on Saturday, September 8, 2018.  The day will begin with volunteers gathering at the Hart VFW at 8:30 am, to help with clean up and landscaping work at local veteran’s homes in the community. There will also be a “Feeding America” food truck available for Oceana families, with fresh local produce and other food items, sponsored by Shelby State Bank.  The food truck will be located at the Shelby State Bank & Gale’s Agency, Inc., at 242 North Michigan Avenue in Shelby, and will be open at 2 pm. The day’s festivities will culminate with a Day of Caring Family Literacy event at the Community Alley in Downtown Hart, where the Oceana United Way will dedicate the first of 5 “Little Free Libraries” to be distributed throughout Oceana County, built by Ron Christians and Jim Howell, members of the Pentwater Service Club and Pentwater Artisan Learning Center, and painted by Gail Zieler, from Gail and Dale’s Art Gallery in Hart. Oceana United Way Director, Barbara Sims, will be on hand to distribute free children’s books and perform interactive stories and puppet shows with the children!  All are welcome!  For more information on Oceana Day of Caring, contact Barbara Saunders Sims at (231) 332-4005, or Barbara@unitedwaylakeshore.org.

Newaygo County Day of Caring, will be held on September 28, 2018 at the Newaygo County Career Tech Center and will include building of raised gardens and tree planting.  More information will be available closer to the event.  Newaygo County will also host a kick-off luncheon on Wednesday, September 12, from 11:45 am to 1:00 pm at the Stone Lodge, 4707 S. Trillium Springs Lane, featuring Rick Vuyst.  For more information on Newaygo Day of Caring, contact Jim Rynberg at (231) 924-2101 or mayor@cityoffremonth.net.
United Way of the Lakeshore fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in our communities.  Since 2015, our goal has been to assist 10,000 more working families to meet their basic needs by 2025.  From our last ALICE Report (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed), we know that 4 in 10 families are working hard but still struggling to meet their basic needs.  The good news:  3,000 households improved since we wet our goal, over 6000 lives that moved above the ALICE threshold or out of poverty.

The United Way Community Campaign involves more than 300 companies, organizations and members of organized labor annually.  Since 1918, United Way of the Lakeshore has raised and invested back into our communities over $118,829,684 million dollars to improve lives.




For more information visit our website at:  www.unitedwaylakeshore.org


Our history:


The community is invited to celebrate the United Way of the Lakeshore’s 100th year of service in the Greater Muskegon Lakeshore communities. Starting as the Muskegon War Chest in 1918, it established the Community Chest to serve the families of our troops and others across our community. The past 100-year history of the local United Way has consistently embodied its current mission—uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities.  Bringing together agencies, donors, advocates, and volunteers to identify and address the most pressing area human service needs has been the hallmark of the United Way.  Workplace campaigns over the years have raised funds from individuals to be directed to local community human service programs through a rigorous review and investment grant process in order to garner the greatest community impact.  After several changes in name and structure, the original War and Community Chest has evolved into a three-county human service agency, United Way of the Lakeshore. Its territory encompasses Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo counties, more than thirty-six hundred square miles, with a population of nearly a quarter-million. Today, 40 percent of families in the region are in need of help to meet their basic needs. To serve these families, in 2017 United Way of the Lakeshore raised in excess of $2.3 million in contributions from more than 7,000 caring donors to support programs in education, income stability, and health.