Spring 2022

A Year of 2021

A Note from the Director

The seasons are changing, can you feel it? Something about a new season brings new life to us. Maybe it’s just the spring season, but this time of year reminds me of all the amazing things that can still happen.

In April we will take time out to say thank you to our volunteers. This is important because we would not be who we are without our wonderful volunteers. It is said that people who volunteer are less stressed, have better mental and physical health, and are all around happier people. Personally, when I volunteer, I feel better and come away with great stories. Think about your volunteer experience… how does it bring you joy? Maybe you aren’t volunteering at the moment. That’s okay. You can register at to see volunteer opportunities that interest you. This site has several volunteer opportunities.

Spring is also a time when we start to plan Summer Lunch. As we start to plan, we know we will need volunteers for site coordinators, volunteers to hand out/serve food, food delivery drivers, and substitutes for all positions. One volunteer says, “It’s great to be part of a program that helps children. The families are very appreciative and it’s nice to see the impact of the program on the community.” Another volunteer says, “As a child, food insecurity was real for me. When I have an opportunity to participate in a program that helps kids eat, I jump at it. The Summer Lunch program is a great way to connect to the community.” Watch Volunteer Mahaska and our social media for when volunteer opportunities become available. I could talk about volunteering for days and we have so many different volunteer opportunities. I am sure you will find something that interests you.

Thank you to all who GIVE. . . ADVOCATE. . .VOLUNTEER for United Way. You really are Living United.

Warmly, Michella

Mandy Hafner
Nikki Thomas
Jan and Tom Palmer

Volunteer Spotlight

Take Along Coordinators

Did you know an estimated 1,040 children experience food insecurity in Mahaska County, Iowa? The Take Along Weekend Food Program ensures that these children have consistent access to nutritious food during the weekends when they need it most. Volunteers help assemble meals for students at Oskaloosa Elementary, Oskaloosa Middle School, Fremont Elementary, and Eddyville Elementary. We would not be able to offer this program without our Take Along Coordinators and their volunteers! Thank you for your dedicated service to the children of Mahaska County!

                                                     Not pictured: Amanda McGraw

Cookies and Cocoa

In December we took time to celebrate our volunteers with Cookies and Cocoa. If you were not able to join us, please know that we could not be us, without YOU. THANK YOU!!!

Your Gift, Their Story

Our success story comes from a family of four with two children under the age of three. Mom recently changed jobs due to not being able to find childcare and dad works on the weekends to make ends meet. The family has struggled each month to pay their preschool tuition and recently enrolled in a payment plan with the Early Learning Director. This allowed their child to stay in preschool while the family is attempting to catch up on dues. When the childcare director called the mother to share that there was additional United Way Scholarship money to put towards their December tuition, she immediately started to cry. The parents had been struggling for so long and were barely making it pay check to pay check. Having the scholarship and support to pay for their child’s December education helped them in a huge time of need. Their child is learning and thriving in the YMCA preschool program and has made many friends. Mom couldn’t stop thanking United Way for the relief that this gave her in their time of need.

MLK Day of Caring

MLK Day is the only federal holiday where people are encouraged to volunteer. This year for MLK Day of Caring, United Way partnered with the Oskaloosa Community Schools to volunteer throughout the community. Oskaloosa Teachers and students from William Penn University teamed up together to work on projects. Volunteers could be found at the George Daily Auditorium, Hy-Vee, Habitat for Humanity, Stephen Memorial Animal Shelter, and ten other locations. Volunteers had a wonderful time and accomplished so much more than the businesses could have anticipated.

Board Members

Maria DeStefanoPresident
Angella GambellVice-President
Choua Sayaxang  – Treasurer
Courtney PerreaultSecretary
Ryan ColterPast President
Haley VanDerPol
Cassie Veldhuizen
Jane Krutzfeldt
Melinda Walter
Micaela VanZee
Dan Gillette
Nate Harris
Roger Beane

Community Investment

United Way of Mahaska County provided funding to the following for 2022. Congratulations to our 2022 Funded Partners!

4-H Foundation
Crisis Intervention Services
Ecumenical Cupboard
Family Crisis Center
Grant Senior Center
Homelessness Coalition
Imagine the Possibilities
Iowa Legal Aid
Mahaska Health Partnership Hospital Foundation
Oskaloosa Education Foundation
Prevent Child Abuse Iowa
Mahaska County YMCA

Mark Your Calendar

Vita Tax Site

This free service helps low- to moderate- income individuals, persons with disabilities and the elderly file their taxes each year now through April 15th.

Summer Lunch begins early June

The Summer Lunch Program serves a healthy meal to children ages 1-18 years old at several sites in the community, If you are interested in volunteering contact Paige at 641-673-6043 or

Back to School Fair – August 10, 2022

A one day event where students in Preschool through High School can pick up a backpack filled with school supplies. Pre-registration is required. Be on the lookout on our social media pages for items to donate and ways to volunteer.