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United Way funds 40 gorge groups

THE DALLES COMMUNITY MEALS was one of 40 regional organizations who will share in $155,000 allocated by the United Way of the Columbia Gorge to help nonprofit organizations. 	File photo

THE DALLES COMMUNITY MEALS was one of 40 regional organizations who will share in $155,000 allocated by the United Way of the Columbia Gorge to help nonprofit organizations. File photo Photo by Mark Gibson.

— This year the United Way of the Columbia Gorge (UWCG) will allocate funding to 40 local non-profit programs.

More than 60 volunteers raised $155,000 within the Columbia Gorge community, which will now be channeled directly to agencies serving Hood River, Klickitat, Sherman, Skamania and Wasco counties.

Many local non-profit agencies need financial support beyond their own annual fundraising efforts. Organizations such as Meals on Wheels, HAVEN and Families First, rely on these extra funds from the United Way, which often mean the difference between being able to provide, rather than deny, children and adults the services they need.

“We have been without Older Americans Act (OAA) funding since mid-April and will not receive it again until mid-August,” said Denise Patton, director of The Dalles Meals on Wheels. “United Way of the Columbia Gorge is the only way we can continue to serve seniors without making drastic changes until that funding comes through again. Because of United Way, no senior has to go hungry in our community.”

The United Way of the Columbia Gorge is funding a diverse group of critical programs. Whether it’s through providing food and lodging for families recently displaced by a house fire in The Dalles, delivering warm meals to elderly homebound residents throughout Wasco and Sherman counties, or mentoring local children, the United Way makes a significant impact to help these local programs continue serving people.

“Our local United Way is extraordinary in that it is fueled by local volunteers helping local people,” said Jeff Heater, president of the Wasco Sherman UWCG Council. “Our process is really about uniting people to make a real difference in our neighbors’ lives.”

Each non-profit agency that applied for funding was thoroughly screened, interviewed and selected by a committee of Columbia Gorge residents representing the five counties. The 40 selected programs will be honored at the annual United Way Agency Social on July 17 at the Best Western Plus Hood River Inn. A list of 2013 funded agencies is included below.

For information on becoming a volunteer, or donating to the United Way of the Columbia Gorge, contact the local office at (541) 386-6100 or PO Box 303, The Dalles; or visit the UWCG website at www.unitedwaycolumbiagorge.org. A Community “wish list” for volunteer and in-kind donation needs within United Way funded agencies can also be accessed on the website.

Funding recipients in 2013 include American Red Cross – Columbia Gorge Emergency Preparedness and Response, Backpacks for Kids , Big Brothers Big Sisters, CASA, Columbia Gorge Children’s Advocacy Center, Emergency Voucher Program, Families First, First Book , FISH Food Bank, Habitat for Humanity, HAVEN, Heart of Hospice Foundation, Helping Hands Against Violence, Hood River County Christmas Project- Meal Program, Hood River Valley Adult Center, Hood River High School On-Campus Mental Health Program, Hood River Warming Shelter, Hospice of the Gorge – Youth Grief Program, Independent Living Program- Oregon Trail Transitional Housing, Klickitat County Senior Services, Mentor for Success, Mid-Columbia Action Council, New Hope Farms, Opportunity Connections, Pioneer Potlatch, Providence Foundation Diabetes Education Program, Skamania County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Skamania County Senior Services – Food Program, Skamania County Senior Services – Transportation, Skamania Klickitat Community Network, SMART, St. Francis House of Odell, The Dalles Community Meals, The Dalles Meals on Wheels, Volunteer Chore Services, WGAP Community Youth Center, WGAP Klickitat County Food Coalition, WGAP Programs for Peaceful Living, WINGS and Wishram Community Garden.

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