In 2020 United Way’s largest volunteer initiative is becoming a summer-long event called “Days of Action,” taking place June through August. Coleraine was selected as this year’s recipient following conversations about neighborhood revitalization between United Way of 1000 Lakes, Itasca County Habitat for Humanity, Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA), and the City of Coleraine. In the months leading up to this partnership, Coleraine’s city council had identified revitalization of its downtown corridor as a priority, which aligned well with the Day of Action program goals.
The action began on June 19 with outreach to Coleraine’s home and business owners. Staff from the partner organizations joined with volunteers from the Trout Lake Fire Department and the Coleraine Police Department to deliver home-care kits to residents. The distribution of essential cleaning supplies, made possible by a grant from United Way Worldwide and donations from L&M Fleet Supply and Lake Country Power, aimed to address the role of a safe, clean home in promoting good health.
In between delivering care packages and greeting Coleraine residents, the Days of Action team discussed the program and its impact with community leaders, including Coleraine mayor Dan Mandich. Live interviews were broadcast throughout the day on Facebook so that supporters could follow along while staying safe at home. In the meantime, Memorial Blood Center Bloodmobiles parked on Roosevelt Avenue in front of Coleraine City Hall, where community members donated blood. Combined with a drive held in Grand Rapids the previous day, 98 units were collected, saving as many as 194 lives.
While this year’s activities weren’t like those of previous years, there was still a feeling of optimism in the air and a sense of anticipation about what the upcoming projects will do for the community.
Speaking on behalf of Coleraine city administration, an essential collaborator in the project, Mayor Mandich expressed his excitement about the initiative. “Coleraine would like to thank CEDA, United Way, Habitat for Humanity, the Coleraine Police Department, and the Trout Lake Fire Department for all of their help,” he stated. “Through their vision, Coleraine has a bright future.”
Though the day was a success, Kim Brink Smith, United Way executive director, stressed that June 19 was only the beginning of a whole summer of activities, including over two dozen city and residential projects, further outreach efforts, and the launch of Bonfire, an online volunteer tool that connects volunteers with needs in the community.
“There’s a lot to look forward to,” she elaborated. “This will be a chance to direct our energy towards recovery and come together to make a positive change.”
To stay updated on Days of Action happenings, visit uwlakes.org. For more information, call United Way at 218-999-7570.