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United Way of Pettis County moves forward with several events


United Way of Pettis County has several events planned for the next few months, including bringing back its annual luncheon meeting slated for April.

On Thursday, Feb. 29, Executive Director Rachelle Simon was excited to talk about the nonprofit’s funded partners and the events, which include a Set the Table Skillet, Cook-off and Discussion on March 13, the annual Luncheon on April 3, and the Day of Action on June 22.

She noted that United Way has 17 funded partners this year, up from 2023. All the programs with the funded partners support education, health, and financial stability.

"Every year, any nonprofit that serves folks in Pettis County can apply," Simon said. "We have 17 funded partners, but Community Café is a grant recipient."

The grant supplied to Community Café is for paper goods for carryout dinners to those who can't eat in.

"The difference is the funded partners are funded throughout the year in four quarterly payments," she explained. "And the grant is just a one-time for something very specific."

Returning this year is the annual United Way Luncheon, which hasn't happened since the COVID-19 pandemic. The luncheon will be hosted from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, at the First United Methodist Church on Thompson Boulevard. There will be speakers, awards, and free food. United Way will also raffle off a Travis Kelce Kansas City Chiefs jersey. Tickets may be purchased online and are $5 per ticket or $20 for five. To attend the event, one should RSVP by March 20.

"Anyone who is part of the United Way, donor, partner, or a funded partner, is invited," Simon noted. “I'm really excited about it because I think that's one of the things that really matters in the work that we do.

"It's hard to work together if you don't know the people you're working with," she continued. "So, I think this event is really important to build relationships and get people back face-to-face."

The Set the Table: Skillet, Cook-off, and Discussion event is from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13 at the Katy Trail Community Health Education Room, 305 W. Main St. United Way has partnered with Katy Trail Community Health and the University of Missouri Extension to provide a class on cooking nutritious meals from food pantry boxes. Those who participate will receive an electric skillet.

"It's a really awesome community-building event," Simon noted.

Simon added she wants to get the Day of Action project application out now so people can sign up early for the June event if they need help with their home or property.

"We're doing Katy Park and the surrounding areas," she said. "But, then, we also do individual projects. And we already have five project applications, which is awesome."

The application needs the person's name and address of the project property. Projects can include the repair of the house's exterior, interior house maintenance repair, and yard/property maintenance. People in need of assistance can apply at www.spcuw.org/day-action or fill out a paper form and mail it to United Way at 1400 S. Limit Ave. No. 29, Sedalia, MO 65301. Day of Action project applications are due by April 1.

"Because it takes coordination," Simon explained. "Because I go out, and I meet with folks and see what they need. And then, see, do we have a volunteer team that meets those needs with skills?

"Then we try to do the partnering May," she added. "So, people have a month to plan. The project application is really for folks who physically or financially are struggling to keep up their home."

Simon is also looking for teams of volunteers. Last year, the Day of Action had 20 volunteer teams, 15 projects, 250 volunteers, and 10 sponsors. This year, Simon is hoping for 300 volunteers. Volunteers must sign up at www.spcuw.org.

The Day of Action will kick off at Katy Park from 7 a.m. to noon Saturday, June 22. The Altrusa Club will provide breakfast.

"I think that's pretty meaningful when they (a team) get to work with a homeowner or a resident that needs help with something," Simon said. "But if you want that kind of project, you have to sign up by mid-April. So, we can coordinate."

Simon is also looking for Day of Action T-shirt sponsors.

For more information about United Way of Pettis County, contact Simon at 660-826-2980 or rachelle.siomon@spcuw.org.

Faith Bemiss-McKinney can be reached at 660-530-0289.

united way of sedalia/pettis county, sedalia, missouri, funded partners, day of action, katy trail community health, university of missouri extension, community cafe