EDUCATION – Oscoda Area United Way Chairperson Jolene Senn sets up a table at the 20th Oscoda Lions Craft Show on Saturday, Oct. 2, to educate locals and visitors about what United Way does.

OSCODA – The Oscoda Area United Way (OAUW) kicked off their 2021-22 campaign by going out into the community and talking to locals and visitors in the area. 

Typically the board holds a breakfast at Wiltse’s Brew Pub & Family Restaurant, but this year they decided to do something a little different. OAUW Chairperson Jolene Senn said that due to the pandemic, the OAUW wasn’t able to have a breakfast last year, and due to everyone’s availability she and the board discovered that less and less people were able to attend. 

With the breakfast canceled in 2020, and the information about a lack of attendees, in conjunction with information about the United Way, the board decided to go out this year and educate the community about what United Way does. 

“We felt like not very many people in the community had an understanding of what the United Way does, so this is an opportunity to shed some light on it,” said Senn. 

This year, members of the board went out into the community and set up a table at the Northeast Michigan Regional Farm Market on Sept. 22 and 29. They were also present at the Oscoda Lions Craft show this past Saturday. Senn said she has experienced a lot of success being out in the community and even received a few donations. 

She said when herself and board members are out in the community and locals or visitors asked about United Way, she tells them their objectives and goals and who they are. 

“We are a local nonprofit that helps support the Oscoda Area Schools (OAS) District and then we have a number of organizations  that we support either through ongoing giving,” said Senn. 

This year’s board consists of Senn, Vice Chairperson Bill Gaines, Treasurer Joan Myles, Corresponding Secretary Jane Negro, Recording Secretary Melissa Buckelew, Student Representative Axel Raybourn. Other board members include Carolyn Brummund, Jane Meyer, Catherine Nickell-Simpson, Jen Lee and Randi Rogers.  

According to Senn, the organization received enough funds in the 2020-21 campaign year to meet their goal of $30,000. According to Senn, the organization received a number of grants and money was provided from an estate sale as well. 

Senn said, through the United Way of Michigan and an AT&T gift, the OAUW received a grant for $2,000. These funds were distributed to the OAS Backpack Program, Oscoda Friends Instantly Serving Help (FISH) and the Alcona Health Center. 

Additionally, through the Michigan Area United Way, and a donation made by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis, OAUW received $5,000. This was used for United Ways who works directly with Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in their communities. These funds were distributed to Oscoda FISH, the OAS Backpack program and the monthly food-giveway from the Assembly of God Church. 

This year’s goal remains the same at $30,000. In years past donors could only make donations by paper and envelope, but Senn said now the organization has a website. For more information or to make a donation visit

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