On Thursday, November 12, United Way board members Dave Albrecht and Ryan Gillespie and Steele County Food Shelf director Stormy Trom stopped by the KRFO studios.

Each of the past 10 years United Way has designated a corporate sponsor, and this year it is NAPA Distribution Center of Owatonna. Previous sponsors have been Owatonna Hospital, Viracon, Wenger and Jostens. The corporate sponsor helps to bring a focus to the campaign. This year, as in years past, the goal is to raise $675,000.

Steele County Food Shelf is one of 31 agencies supported by the United Way and has been since 1991. Stormy Trom calls United Way a "community chest." Yearly United Way checks that each agency has a strong support system and financial base so that the agency is able to continue to help those that ask.

Agencies submit an application to become a partner agency to get funding. The process begins by going through United Way's Review Panel and Financial Advisory group to help them understand and also to guide them through the budgeting process. The United Way also helps partners and new agencies in the filing process, establish a board and to stay in good standing as a nonprofit.

The United Way Strategic Plan is to provide individuals opportunities to better themselves by helping programs within agencies with new initiatives.

Initiatives include: Boots to work program, Dolly Parton Imagination Library, after-school program funding to help low-income families, enhance savings, summer farm program that provide fruits and vegetables to low-income families. The United Way has also put in a grant to help with transportation for those on the late shift.

Dave Albrecht, Ryan Gillespie, Stormy Trom in for Talk of the Town for United Way Campaign. Lisa Marie/Townsquare Media