United Way of Northeast Missouri holds their 2024 Campaign Kickoff & Cork Pull

The United Way of Northeast Missouri (UWNEMO) held their Campaign Kickoff & Cork Pull on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the White Oak Barn in Kirksville. Luminaries from throughout the local area attended the event, which included a buffet of free food, raffles and giveaways.

Representatives of all 11 agencies that United Way supports set up at tables along one wall where they answered questions and talked about how they use the monies they receive from the proceeds of the campaign. Attendees were given an “Agency Passport” when they arrived, which they had signed by the agencies involved when they visited their tables. A drawing was held after the passports were returned and Gina Shorten won four movie tickets donated by the Downton Cinema 8 and a pizza donated by Pagliais Pizza.

For children attending, there was face painting and airbrush tattoos from Hollywood Face Painting, which offered their services for free.

The program, which was hosted by United Way of Northeast Missouri President Chade Shorten, began with the 2024 campaign film: “The Faces of the United Way”, which was produced by Ryan Halstead of Halstead Photography.

The video featured beneficiaries of the United Way agency’s services and encouraging messages from 2024 Drive Chair Amanda Selby and Kickoff Committee Chair Ramey Weichelt.

Kick Off

2024 Drive Chair Amanda Selby (left) and President Chade Shorten unveil the where the current drive stands at the United Way of Northeast Missouri 2024 Campaign Kickoff & Cork Pull.  

After the video, guests were entertained by a performance of the Illusion Danz Team from Truman State University. Six students from the school, dressed in black, danced in a short musical presentation in front of the attendees.

Following the performance, a Wine Cork Pull was held where 31 lucky winners who bought $25 raffle tickets at the door, received a bottle of wine purchased by the United Way board members and gift cards donated from local restaurants and businesses.

At the end of the evening, President Shorten and Drive Chair Selby unveiled the 2024 year’s goal, $180,000, and a thermometer showed they had so far reached 40 percent of that goal. (United Way members at A.T. Still University have been raising funds since Sept. 1).

United Way of Northeast Missouri Director Bill Castles said that the organization had raised $6,358 from Wednesday’s event. He praised his board members, which he said was one of the youngest boards he has worked with in years, many of them in their 30s and 40s.

“It's humbling to have people — It's humbling and gratifying to have board members that are so committed, that they're willing to give them up their time, their monies and their contacts to make United Way work,” Castles said.

Northeast Missouri counties served by the UWNEMO agencies include Adair, Macon, Putnam, Schulyler, Scotland and Sullivan. UWNEMO agencies include: Nemo Senior Citizens Services, Adair County Family YMCA, Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri, Macon Community Child Development Center (CCDC), Boy Scouts of America Great Rivers Council, Macon Diversified Industries, Hospice of Northeast Missouri, Community Opportunities, Adair County 4 H, Heartland RSVP, and the Salvation Army.

The kickoff event was sponsored by Elizabeth Gregory of eXp Realty.

Individuals interested in donating to the United Way campaign can visit liveunitednemo.org or stop by the United Way offices which are located at 201 N. Elson on the second floor of Bank Midwest.

Reported in the Kirksville Daily Express on 9/28/2023