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Holiday 2022 Newsletter

Season’s Greetings:

As we enter the season of wishes and miracles, I feel that I have already been blessed with the opportunity to work at The Otsego County United Way. Although, it’s only been 5 months, I am continually in awe of what this organization does and continues to do daily, that now I am fortunate enough to be a part of.

Entering 2022, the staff began to recover, like many, from a pandemic that devastated the world. Hopes of actively engaging volunteers, providing resources, and keeping a pulse on the needs of Otsego County in the traditional ways pre-pandemic. Only to be struck with the May tornado that devastated our community on a different level. However, in a true United manner, the Otsego County United Way became the boots on the ground organization to meet immediate needs of residents. Since then, the OCUW has provided services totaling over $200,000 and 3,000 volunteer hours. With the help of our donors and volunteers, we continue to be a key partner in continuing our work in the long-term recovery efforts.

Fortunately, the amazing staff, focused board of directors, committed volunteers, and the generous donors, The OCUW was able to accomplish some other great things. Helping over 250 individuals with emergency services, completing over 20,000 hours of volunteerism, granting over $50,000 to community projects, and continuing to keep a pulse on the everchanging needs of Otsego County. Through yearly donations, grants, and a successful Power of the Purse event over $100,000 has been secured. Keeping us confident that our work can continue and grow as we look to 2023.

I look forward to continuing my work here, engaging with the #GaylordStrong community, doing my best to Live United. My sincere appreciation to the staff that has made my position here feel like home, the donors that support the work we do, and the volunteers that never say no.

I wish you and your families a blessed holiday season and a New Year filled with love.

Warm Regards,

Kimberly Akin, OCUW Executive Director

Laurie Andrews, RSVP Director

The year 2022 – where has it gone? Seems like just yesterday (really!) that we were fretting the turn of the century and the Millennium, worrying that the world was coming to an end (look where that got us!). Now we are closing in on the end of another year and things aren’t slowing down here, despite almost 3 years of Covid-19 wreaking havoc on our volunteering and socializing schedules. I can honestly say that in our world at United Way and RSVP, things have not slowed down one bit – life just made a ninety-degree trajectory as we tried to keep up with life and provide services to our community while keeping our volunteers safe. Just as we felt that things were “returning to normal” (if you can call it that), a “little EF3 tornado” blew through town and gave us a whole ‘nother reason to kick volunteering into high gear in the Alpine Village. Of course, our RSVP volunteers stepped up to the plate in unprecedented ways: from immediate needs to short term relief and eventually with long term recovery efforts, RSVP volunteers were in the front line at all phases. As I finish up my 7th year with RSVP in Otsego County, I am so proud to say that while we have all been through so much, with every need that arises our volunteers step up to help at the drop of a hat. 2022 was no exception! I consider myself blessed to know and work with each and every one of you as we make a difference in our community! Thank you for your generous service! May 2023 be kind to all.

Alice McPherson, RSVP Volunteer Coordinator

Looking back on 2022, I am most struck by how amazing our Otsego County is. I have been fortunate to be working here at the United Way and see this community in action, particularly this year. When January 2022 began, we were excited to be hosting in person events and were planning the OCUW’s 50th birthday. Obviously, the events of May 20th changed everything. The tornado and its effects of our community were devastating. However, I was simply AMAZED at the ability of our whole community to respond to this event. The very next morning, our OCUW staff showed up and worked with others at the Gaylord E-Free church to help lead the response. I was so humbled to work with both volunteers and survivors. Our volunteers continued to show up throughout the weekend and in the following days, weeks, and now months to help. The way our community gives of their time, their talents, and their treasures is overwhelming. So this holiday season, I want to say thank you … to all of you. Working with you is truly a pleasure. May you all enjoy this holiday season and please know what a blessing you are to our community!

Jill McKinley, RSVP Volunteer Coordinator

I started with the Otsego County United Way in May, just 3 days before a tornado devastated our community. I had the opportunity to work alongside countless volunteers, gracious benefactors, and tornado survivors. The experience had a huge impact on my life. I am grateful to all of my colleagues for their hard work, long hours, and support given to this community. I have since then transitioned to RSVP volunteer Coordinator. I love working with all of our volunteers. I can not even express my gratitude to those who help with programs like the Otsego County Food Pantry, the TACKLE van, Medical Transportations, Tool Time and so much more. We are so lucky to have so many that care about other and jump into action to answer that call. We appreciate all that our volunteers do for us. I am looking forward to spending the holidays with my husband and 7 children. It is always such a joy to have all my kids home under one roof, instead of away at college. From my family to yours I wish you a very Happy Holiday and a wonderful New Year!

Addie Imfeld, Marketing and Events Director

Happy Holidays!

As I look back on 2022, this was a year of growth and education! I joined the United Way team in August 2022. I came on the team as an event intern, as a part of Central Michigan University’s Event Management program! My main focus for the past fifteen weeks has been our annual fundraiser, Power of The Purse. Interning here has opened my eyes to the wonderful community of Gaylord! I have learned so much with this hands-on experience.

I am grateful to be a part of a team and community that cares so much about one another! Witnessing first hand how we all join hands to support one another, kind hearted, passionate, and welcoming individuals. It was wonderful to watch everyone come together for Day of Caring and for Power of the Purse! Our volunteers are the best there are, always lending a helping hand, we are so grateful!

I am happy to say that I have accepted a full time position with United Way as the Marketing and Events Director! I am excited to graduate this month, and spend time with my family for the holidays! I am eager to see what 2023 will bring as a part of the Otsego Community and United Way Team! Have a wonderful holiday season and great new year!

Pamm Quinn, Operations Manager

Happy Holidays to each of you. May this year bring you good fortune, peace and prosperity. 2022 has been a year for learning, growing and witnessing the compassion within our community for our neighbors not only locally, but on a national scale as we so many helped and contributed to help heal our community from the tornado in May. I started my position with OCUW in February, 2022. I chose to work at the OCUW to be able to help within our community. I am amazed daily at what is accomplished in our building as a community resource.

My responsibilities here at the OCUW are behind the scenes support. I manage all aspects of accounting, maintaining of the building, fostering community relationships, and administrative support for OCUW and RSVP Staff.

My greatest joy is being the mom to my four children. Three of our children graduated from college last spring and are now continuing their education working on their Master’s Degree in their fields of interest. My youngest son is in 7th grade and we are enjoying participating in his activities and watching him play sports.

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