Kathy Nordby and Kelli Wacker

Co-chairs of this season's fundraising campaign, Kathy Nordby, CEO of Midtown Health Center (left), and Kelli Wacker, director of the Northeast Nebraska Child Advocacy Center, speak on the importance of community cooperation.

The 2021 Norfolk Area United Way campaign got underway Tuesday with an event that featured encouraging words and testimonials of how important the program is to the Norfolk community.

About 50 people attended the general campaign kickoff at the Norfolk Country Club.

The overall goal of this campaign is $515,000. Last year, members raised $430,000.

General report meetings are planned throughout the fall, spanning every two weeks until the beginning of November.

The theme of this year’s campaign, "Change doesn't happen alone. It takes all of us," was prevalent in the spoken testimonials.

Representatives from the Connection Project, a peer-run organization helping those struggling with mental health or substance abuse, spoke on how the United Way has helped it continue to open doors in tough times. The organization was started in late 2019, said executive director Tommy Newcombe, and without United Way's support, "we probably wouldn't have made it" through the pandemic.

There are about 26 agencies in Norfolk and the surrounding areas scheduled to receive funds from the United Way.

The co-chairs of the campaign, Kelli Wacker, director of the Northeast Nebraska Child Advocacy Center, and Kathy Nordby, CEO of Midtown Health Center, gave brief remarks thanking everyone for coming and handing out awards for exceptional service. Wacker emphasized the importance of a community helping each other and noted that 99% of funds stays in the area. She also spoke on how a tight-knit community benefits everyone involved.

"It takes all of us. We cannot do this alone," Wacker said. "To make a happy and healthy community, we truly need all of us."

The campaign will wrap on Tuesday, Nov. 30.

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