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United Way needs more millennials to volunteer

During this time of year, the United Way of Greater St. Joseph heightens their search for volunteers, for their allocation committee. A group of community volunteers who help the United Way staff decide how much money to give to their 17 partner agencies. Last year United Way raised over three million dollars, now they need help divvying up those funds. This year, there is a certain age group they really need to step up.

Posted: Jan 23, 2019 8:36 AM
Updated: Jan 24, 2019 7:19 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.)— During this time of year, the United Way of Greater St. Joseph heightens their search for volunteers for the allocation committee— a group of community volunteers who help the United Way Board of Directors decide how much money to give to their 17 partner agencies. Last year, United Way raised over $3 million, now they need help to divvy up those funds.

“I love being a part of the United Way volunteer process for the allocations committee, we have fun with it, but we also are trying to make the best decision we can to allocate a limited amount of resources across an unlimited amount of need,” said six-year allocation committee volunteer veteran, Mary Gaston.

This year, there is a certain age group the United Way really needs to step up. According to the most recent United States Census Bureau community survey, the largest age group in St. Joseph is 20-34 which makes up nearly a quarter of the population at 22.8%. However, over the past few years, the number of volunteers in that age group on the allocation committee for United Way has dwindled to almost no one.

“When younger folks in their 20s-30s come in they’re maybe just starting in work or just starting their families, so they are coming in with the perspective of,  ‘this is what the future of my community could be’ we really need that,” said lead allocation committee board member, Sara Mark.

Volunteers say, missing input of the majority of the populations demographic can negatively affect how the community is helped which is why they need people who can represent different aspects of St. Joe.

“It's very critical to bring in lots of different viewpoints when we have variety across the committee they can do a good job of representing the community,”

Jodie Bloemker, United Way’s Director of Community Investment, said 180 volunteers last year but she would like to see more volunteers of all ages. 

“It was a good number but we need to meet that or even double it this year,” Bloemker said.

United Way will be recruiting volunteers of all ages through mid-February. To get more information about the allocations committee or to be a volunteer call 816.364.2381 or click here. 

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