Board Chair's Report, March: Mike Hoelscher

Living United for Years to Come 

A little girl served by the Buddy Pack Program, a feeding program through
United Way partner agency The Food Bank, holds up a sign to a United Way
audience, showing what their support means to her.

Article by Mike Hoeslcher,
United Way Board Chairman
Legends Bank

I am extremely humbled to be serving as the 2017 Chairman of the United Way of Central Missouri Board of Directors. To follow in the footsteps of so many great community leaders is truly an honor. The United Way has a very dedicated, professional team; and along with the dedicated volunteers we are truly blessed to have such a wonderful United Way family that is supported by a very generous and caring community!

Congratulations to Janet Wear-Enloe for her outstanding board leadership this past year, and thank you to Matt Tollerton and Jayne Dunkmann for their tireless efforts to lead the community campaign in 2016.

As we look at the year ahead, it is my goal that we continue to focus on the needs of each of the agencies we serve, as well as the needs of individuals we come in contact with every day…or those we may never meet.

We are fortunate to live in such a generous community, but we must never forget those in need. I’ve been lucky to be involved with the United Way of Central Missouri for many years in various capacities and on various committees. In doing so, like many of you, I’ve been exposed to so many individuals that need our help and that have touched me personally. It’s hard to pick one experience or one individual as there are so many; however two experiences stood out to me in 2016. Every month a leader from a United Way partner agency is invited to bring a client served by their agency to the United Way Board meeting to share how their lives have been touched by the agency and the United Way. All of the presentations are very uplifting as we hear first-hand how the generous donations from our community have impacted those served by our 28 United Way agency partners. Several months ago Derek Sandbothe shared an inspirational presentation about how the United Way has helped Capital Projects and helped him personally. I feel sure every United Way Board member in the room was touched and extremely proud that through the support of our community the United Way is able to help such a great agency and an awesome young man! United Way staff, Board of Directors, Governing Body, and the 400+ volunteers understand it is up to us to make sure your donations are well managed, a responsibility we all take very seriously. When I saw a sign held up by a little girl at the United Way Victory Celebration saying “I get to eat this weekend” because of the Buddy Pack program, I knew the gifts from our community are truly making a difference! Making a difference in so many lives is truly a God-given gift to us all.

Another experience in 2016 that stands out to me is the purchase of the new Mobile Pantry Food Truck. This was a cooperative effort between the United Way of Central Missouri Foundation, the United Way of Central Missouri, and The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri. It is truly a blessing to our community, and will enable The Food Bank to feed so many hungry people. The goal is to supplement the dedicated efforts of the existing food pantries and distribute more food to people who are food insecure in Cole County. Each mobile pantry has the capacity to distribute 10,000 pounds of food. Thank you to the agencies and churches that will be hosting the mobile food pantries, allowing food distribution to areas in our community that have been identified as having a high concentration of people who need our help.

Whether it’s making your place of business available to the United Way for a mobile food pantry, allowing your employees to volunteer, or the generous donations we receive from individuals and local businesses and organizations – you are all making a remarkable difference in our community. So please remember to continue to GIVE, ADVOCATE and VOLUNTEER so we can all LIVE UNITED for many years to come! On behalf of the United Way of Central Missouri, thank you for your most generous support!