United Way board member Stephanie Olson from the Owatonna Clinic, Director of Transitional Housing of Steele County Julie Anderson and Director of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Southern MN Michelle Redman were in for Talk of the Town at the KRFO AM1390 studios on Thursday, Dec. 10.

NAPA Distribution of Owatonna is the corporate campaign manager. This year's goal is $670,000, and they are at 76 percent of the goal. The United Way helps give a "hand up" to 24 agencies. They also partner with local business to give support in ways that will help someone get and keep their job. That is what Strategic Planning is all about -- Boots to Work program, and United Way is working on getting transportation in off hours and routing.

Dolly Parton Library, where preschoolers will receive a book in the mail every month, is also a part of United Way Strategic Planning by helping in the early years.

Redman mentioned that the United Way helps support BBBS by "helping children and youth achieve success" (a UW one-liner) by supporting the program of Community and School on-site matches mentoring elementary students. Big Brothers/Big Sisters have about 150 "Littles" waiting for "Bigs."

Anderson talked about how Transitional Housing of Steele County helps families that are homeless by finding them a home and paying the initial cost of renting, and then client and Transitional Housing each pay a portion of the rent until the client can be self-sufficient. The clients will meet with case managers even into six months after the client has graduated out of the program to help with them so they keep on budget. United Way helps with this program.

In November, Transitional Housing held a breakfast and luncheon to coincide with Homeless Awareness Month and more than 420 people attended. The Give Hope Concert on November 28 raised close to $5,000, which will go toward the Eviction Prevention Program.

Last year, 187 people were helped with Transitional Housing of Steele County and this year around 100 people, including 24 families, are receiving help.

Julie Anders, Michelle Redman and Stephanie Olson were in with the United Way Campaign. Lisa Marie/Townsquare Media