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United Way Carnival


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Alice Campbell Havre Daily News [email protected]

The United Way of Hill County annual fundraising campaign kicked off Wednesday evening to rave reviews from the children playing games at the carnival. It was the inaugural carnival, and Lorraine Verploegen, the director ot the organization, said she was pleased with the turnout. "Seeing all ages out here enjoying themselves is fabulous," she said. At the same time, people attending the carnival were becoming more aware of "what United Way is and what it does for the community," she said. The carnival served as the initiation of the fundraising campaign that Verploegen hopes will raise $102,000 for United Way's 16 funded partners. The money raised stays in Hill County, with monthly appropriations given to each of the 16 funded partners, Verploegen said in an earlier interview. This year, the campaign started earlier and will be shorter and more targeted, said Christy Keto, who works with United Way. United Way is hoping to do more presentations at local businesses, where people can opt to have a payroll deduction to donate, she added. A raffle, originally set to be drawn at the end of the carnival but extended to Thursday, Sept. 3, will help raise some funds as well, Verploegen said. Two tickets to see the Sunday, Sept. 20, Seattle Seahawks game with $400 in spending money, a .17-caliber Savage HMR riffle and an oak rocking chair are all being raffled. 100 tickets for a chance at all three prizes are being sold at $20 each and are available at the Havre Area Chamber of Commerce office. Bags were given out at the ticket table, with information about United Way inside, that children could then use to tote their prizes. One of the pieces of information was a flyer explaining the volunteer system for the organization that Verploegen said is being expanded. Ideally, people will sign up to volunteer, and then when there is a community event of any kind that needs volunteers, an e-mail will be sent to everyone on the list, Verploegen said. Several of United Way's funded partners, along with other area organizations, set up booths where children could play games and learn about the group at the same time. Tickets were sold for the games. Groups are set to turn tickets in today for reimbursement. That money then goes straight into the organizations' coffers, Verpoloegen said. For the local chapter of the Girl Scouts, that means more money toward activities such as caroling and cocoa at the Care Center during the holidays, Jenn Belcourt, the service unit manager in Havre, said. The Girl Scouts booth area had several games, and Trinity Donaldson, 4, enjoyed playing the coin drop, but her favorite game was "the one with the candy." For the North Central Senior Citizens Center, the extra Funds, garnered from their efforts selling fry bread and having bobbing for apples available for children, will mean more money to help with home- and community-based services such as respite care and nurses helping organi z e medi cat i ons, said Eve lyn Havskjold, the executive director of Area X Agency on Aging in Hill County. Saige O'Neil, 7, who was helping with the Shooting Stars Gymnastics booth, took a break to bob for apples, and said she had a good time at the carnival and learned a lot in the process. Three local groups Kitty Keepers, Domestic Violence and Court Appointed Special Advocate worked on a booth together, selling baked goods and having games for children to play. Joanna Kurtz, with CASA, said the booth saw a positive response and had fielded several questions and given out information. Dawna Keeley, 11, Brittney Bergren, 11, and Mackenzie Walker, 8, volunteered at the booth. Bergren said she was bored during her summer vacation and that she likes going to Kitty Keepers to help. At the face-painting booth for the Havre Community Giveaway House, Jonathan Beckman, 15, said he volunteered because "some people can't really afford a lot of things" and the house has those things available for free. "So we want to help advertise that," he added.


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