Fall 2021

Day of Caring 2021

22 Projects | 114 Volunteers

The Day of Caring is an annual event which brings volunteers from across the community together for one day of collective, meaningful impact. Volunteers spend time landscaping, painting, building, and doing repairs throughout the community and you can join us in the work of LIVING UNITED. It provides an opportunity to see first-hand the work United Way and our partners are doing to improve education, income and health in Mahaska County.

More than 100 people from businesses all across Mahaska County volunteered at several local projects on September 9, 2021 to take part in the United Way’s Day of Caring. The annual event brings in volunteers to help charities and non-profits wherever they need it. This year we conquered 22 projects with 114 volunteers.

Volunteers who participated in Day of Caring’s work included Cargill-Eddyville, Nutrien AG Solutions, MidAmerican Energy Company, MHP Foundation, Mahaska Chamber & Development Group, FCS America, Musco Sports Lighting, MidWestOne Bank, Imagine the Possibilities, Rotary Club of Oskaloosa and Edward Jones.

A Note From the Director

Fall has arrived. It is my favorite time of the year. I enjoy fall flavors, chilly evenings, bonfires, and the beautiful colors. With each season, I always consider it a reset; a time to reevaluate. For us at United Way, we get to
reflect on the busy summer and plan for what is ahead. This summer we had many volunteers for the Summer Lunch Program and they volunteered 373 hours. What a great commitment to the community. I have heard people say that this is such a lifeline for them since they are still trying to catch up from not working at the onset of COVID. This summer also saw the Back to School Fair. The Fair is a great program that brings together so many people from the community; from the Sickle/ Scott Daycare, to William Penn students
and staff, to the Mahaska County CERT, and so many other businesses and community members. Thank you to everyone who helped get students ready to go back to school.

It feels like as soon as the Back to School Fair was done it was time for Day of Caring, an event that brings volunteers from across the community together for one day of collective, meaningful impact. Make sure you check out the front page and find all the people you know. This year we painted, landscaped, cleaned, organized, and sorted.

We are in the planning phases of MLK Day of Caring with Penn Central Mall. We were not able to have this event last January due to COVID-19 but are excited to see this event grow in January. Watch all of our social media pages to find out more about the event.

Our community does such a great job of supporting one another. I am looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together as we move into 2022.

Warmly, Michella

Volunteer Spotlight

Work Student Breana (left) helping other volunteers at the Day of Caring Luncheon

The Work Program at

Oskaloosa High School

This program is designed to provide an opportunity for students to learn from and network with professionals in their specific career areas of interest. As a work student, the students will obtain a realistic view of the world of work and develop an understanding of the relationship between academic content and workplace performance. Further, students learn to recognize and emulate the personal characteristics essential to professional success. This course is for Seniors only.
United Way has had the privilege of being a Work Program site over the past several years. Students have helped with the Take-Along program, the Back to School Fair, general office work, and many other projects.
This program allows United Way Staff to get to know the student, talk about their future goals and help them experience hands on learning. While all of this is taking place we discuss how a nonprofit works. Students gain many life-skills that will be useful throughout their future careers.

“When you go out into the community, you see people you have never seen before that come together. It amazes me how people around the community team together to help out.”
-Breana Engelhardt, Current Work Student


This past March, we asked our funded partners to provide us with a quilt block of their program. Once we had our quilt blocks and necessary supplies, all we had to do was find a quilter. Finally, someone said “I’ll do it.” Eileen Holub of Oskaloosa dedicated her time and talent into this quilt, and we are forever grateful for it. She has a love for quilting and has made many quilts for her family and friends, but it was time for something different. Eileen has always wanted to create a quilt for donation, and this was the perfect time to do so. We handed off the blocks and supplies and a few weeks later we have this beautiful quilt.

This quilt will live in our office and remind us every day of the resourcefulness of Mahaska County. When all of the pieces come together, the picture becomes much clearer and shows what we stand for.


Meet Paige

Paige Watters joined the United Way staff in June 2021. Paige was raised in Oskaloosa, went to Oskaloosa Public Schools, and graduated from William Penn University in May of 2020 with a BA in Business Management and Graphic Art. She is currently in the master’s program at William Penn University and on track to graduate May 2022 with her master’s degree in Business Leadership. Paige also works as a Graduate Assistant for the William Penn University Athletic Bands and volunteers with the Oskaloosa High School Drumline when possible.

“Throughout the few months I have been with United Way, I have been overwhelmed with the love that our volunteers have for our community. During my first few weeks, I was amazed at how many members of our
community I had never seen nor met. I have met some amazing people and I am excited to meet even more members of our amazing community!”

Mark Your Calendar

Winter Coat Drive

This is the time to go through your closets and purge your winter outerwear that you are no longer wearing. You can donate your gently used outerwear at the following locations: Mahaska Drug, Oskaloosa Public Library,
Bank Iowa, YMCA, Smokey Row, Hy-Vee, Fareway, Oskaloosa High School, Kraig Ford, Central United Methodist Church, First Christian Church or Saint Mary’s Parish Center.

Winter Coat Distribution

If you or someone you know needs gently used winter wear they can pick up items at Penn Central Mall on November 5-6 from 10am-6pm. November 7th at the McVay Family Center in New Sharon from 1-3 P.M.

Giving Tuesday – November 30

This is an international day of charitable giving at the beginning of the holiday season You can participate by donating to United Way on our website:

Cookies and Cocoa – December 1st, 11-1PM

Join us for this open house as we celebrate our amazing volunteers. We will provide cookies and a selection of beverages.