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United Way of Inner Wisconsin



United Way of Inner Wisconsin News


Local Volunteers Prepare for Disaster

  • 21 volunteers attended the Disaster Volunteer Reception Center Training (VRC) last week, and a total of 10 new volunteers joined the VRC team.  There are now a total of 31 volunteers registered to assist in a VRC in the event of a disaster.
  • United Way of Inner Wisconsin’s Volunteer Center facilitated the training on March 10 and 12 at the Wisconsin Rapids Lion’s Club.
  • During a disaster, there are two types of volunteers:  spontaneous and affiliated.  Affiliated volunteers have a relationship with a volunteer organization, such as American Red Cross, and have been trained and vetted.  Spontaneous volunteers are unaffiliated and may not be trained, but may still have skills, energy and compassion to share after a disaster. 
  • In the event of a disaster, any spontaneous volunteers who arrive at a disaster scene will be directed to the VRC, where they will fill out an application, be interviewed and screened, matched with a disaster volunteer opportunity, trained and fitted with a wristband before being sent back out to the disaster scene.  The VRC is staffed by volunteers. 
  • Day one of the training was lecture, explaining what happens during a disaster, what a VRC is and why it’s important.  Day two was a hands-on exercise.  At the end of day two, participants were asked to consider joining the VRC team.
  • VRC volunteers are asked to:  fill out an application; agree to be screened; have their photo taken for credentials; attend future trainings/exercises; and be accessible in the event of a disaster.
  • The Volunteer Center thanks the Wisconsin Rapids Lion’s Club for hosting the event and providing several volunteers to become a part of the VRC team.  The Volunteer Center also thanks its two dinner sponsors, Tropical Smoothie Café and Domino’s. 
  • The Disaster VRC training will be an annual event.  If you missed this year’s training, or would like more information, give the Volunteer Center a call at 715-421-0390.


United Way of Inner Wisconsin to Distribute Emergency Food and Shelter Program Funds

  • The United Way of Inner Wisconsin, for the 27th year, is administering a grant from the Federal Emergency Food & Shelter Program for distribution in Wood County for the period starting in May 2014, according to Tari Jahns, Chief Executive Officer.  Jahns said the grant is in the amount of $10,920.
  • The purpose of the grant is to supplement and extend existing emergency food and shelter programs in high need areas.  Jahns stated that the previous grant was used for rent/ mortgage, shelter and food assistance. 
  • The Phase 32 grant of the Emergency Food & Shelter Program will be distributed to local, voluntary or governmental agencies for provision of needed emergency food and shelter assistance in period starting in May 2014.  A local board is responsible for recommending how the funds will be distributed among Wood County agencies. 
  • Under the terms of the grant, local private voluntary or governmental organizations eligible to be distributing agencies for the grant must be nonprofit, have an accounting system and conduct an annual audit, practice nondiscrimination, have demonstrated the capability to deliver emergency food and shelter programs, and if they are private voluntary organizations they must have a voluntary board of directors. 
  • Qualifying agencies may apply by contacting Stefanie Maxwell at the United Way of Inner Wisconsin Office at 715-421-0390.  Application materials must be completed and submitted by Friday, March 27, 2015.  Late, incomplete or partially completed applications will not be considered. 
  • To be considered for funding, each agency applying must attend a meeting on Tuesday, April 7, 2015 at 9:30AM at the Associated Bank in Pittsville.


Volunteer Center Seeks Nominations for Volunteer Recognition Breakfast

  • United Way of Inner Wisconsin’s Volunteer Center is seeking nominations for its 24th Annual Volunteer Recognition Breakfast.
  • The breakfast will be held at Hotel Mead, 451 E. Grand Ave., Wisconsin Rapids on April 14, 2015.  Registration begins at 7:45am, breakfast buffet as guests arrive, with the program beginning at 8:00am.
  • To Nominate a Volunteer
    Each volunteer who is nominated will receive recognition for their service, including a certificate and token of our appreciation.  To nominate a volunteer:
    • Visit our website at to download a nomination form, fill it out and return it to us by 4:00pm, March 17, 2015. 
    • Visit our website at and fill out an online form by 4:00pm, March 17, 2015.
  • Late nominations will not be accepted.  Each agency may nominate up to five individuals or groups.  If you’d like to submit a photo of your volunteer(s) to be used in the presentation, please email that to by March 17th.  We will send a letter to each nominee but the nominators will need to reach out to their volunteer(s) with additional instructions.
  • To RSVP for the Volunteer Breakfast
    Please RSVP for the Volunteer Breakfast by April 7, 2015. This year we have two ways to register:
    • Visit our website at to download our registration form, fill it out and return it with your payment.
    • Visit our website at to register online and make a credit card payment through PayPal.
  • Payment will not be accepted at the door; and your RSVP will not be accepted until payment is made.  Please make checks payable to United Way of Inner Wisconsin.
  • Call the Volunteer Center at 715-421-0390 with any questions about how to nominate a volunteer or RSVP. United Way of Inner Wisconsin thanks our generous sponsor for this event, Daily Tribune Media, for its continued support!


Celebrate 2-1-1 on February 11th

  • Across the nation, communities are celebrating 2-1-1 on February 11th.  On a local level, Mayor Zack Vruwink has officially proclaimed today “2-1-1 Day” in Wisconsin Rapids.
  • United Way’s 2-1-1 is an information and referral program that maintains a database of community resources and connects callers with questions to the proper services or organizations to meet their information needs.  This service is free, confidential and available 24/7. 
  • “United Way’s 2-1-1 is here to help,” said Amy Fluno, 2-1-1 Program Director.  “We answer questions every day that range from basic needs such as ‘where is my local food pantry?’ to more complex questions like ‘My family has an eviction notice and we don’t know what to do.  Who can help us?’ Give us a call and we may be able to find the answers you are looking for.”
  • You can also celebrate 2-1-1, by learning more about this useful tool, or by giving us a call if you have a question about a community resource.  Listed here are some things you can do today:
    • Advocate for a friend or relative who is having a difficult time.  Dial 2-1-1 to see what resources are available.
    • Visit our website at and download helpful guides such as the “Help Guide” for your community.
    • Sign up for the “Get Connected Get Answers” Blog at  to stay informed about local events, support groups, conferences, classes and updates in your community.
    • Sign up for the 2-1-1 Resources E-Newsletter by contacting us at
  • If you are a non-profit organization, religious entity or government agency providing health or human service programs to the public, contact 2-1-1 to be added to our database.  You can also request free 2-1-1 materials (posters, fact cards, magnets, etc.) and put them on display or hand them out to clients.
  • In addition to connecting callers to local resources, United Way’s 2-1-1 also tracks caller needs and uses that information to analyze trends, such as identifying gaps in services.  This information can be used to help make program funding decisions.
  • For example, in 2014, our 2-1-1 call center answered 4,769 calls.  The top five needs were:
    • In south Wood County
      • Food Pantries
      • Rent Payment Assistance
      • Electric Payment Assistance
      • Gas Money
      • Housing Authority
    • In Adams County
      • Rent Payment Assistance
      • Electric Payment Assistance
      • Food Pantries
      • Medical Appointment Transportation
      • Rent Deposit Assistance
  • For more information, contact United Way’s 2-1-1 by calling 2-1-1 or 877-947-2211; or visit