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Up, up and away
2016 United Way campaign to take flight
new deh united way graphic

United Way 2016 Campaign
• Aug. 15 - Kickoff/Fundraiser-Truth, Justice and United Way
• Aug. 19- Stuff the Bus-Great Bend
• Aug. 20 - Water Balloon Showdown-Brad Reed Superintendent of USD 428 team vs. Jefferson Elementary School Staff
• Aug. 27 - Larned Chamber Coffee-Pawnee Valley Community Hospital
• Presentation of Posters at Larned, Ellinwood, and Great Bend Middle Schools
• TBD - Stuff the Bus-Ellinwood and Larned
• Sept. 10 - Great Bend Chamber Coffee-Adams, Brown, Beran and Ball
• Sept. 18 - Ellinwood Chamber Coffee-Location TBD
• Sept. 20 - Harlem Ambassadors, 7 at Barton Community College
• Sept. 27 - Bowl n’ One, 1-4 at Walnut Bowl
• Nov. 18 - Fall Jeans Day
• Nov. 7 - Casino Night - Sidewinders, Ellinwood
• Nov. 28 - Lite to Unite Bike, Walk, Run
• November - Charity Tree - Barton Community College
• TBD - Ring bells for Salvation Army
• Campaign comes to close

 With the theme “Superheroes in our Community,” the United Way of Central Kansas will host its annual Kickoff Event on Aug. 15th. Think Clark Kent, Superman Theme and “Truth, Justice, and the United Way.”

The festivities will start at 6 p.m. with a social hour at the Knights of Columbus in Great Bend. A down-home style dinner will begin serving at 7 and entertainment will start at 8. 

This year’s entertainer is ventriloquist Greg Claassen. Claassen is known for his spontaneous aptitude for humor and strives to bring the audience together by taking them away from their cares for a while. Greg is a Kansan who has performed across the country, including in Las Vegas, Orlando, and Branson. 

UWCK will have silent auction items up for bidding including a “ Kansas State Basketball Watch party at the Calcara Cow Palace” donated by Mark and Melanie Calcara and food provided by Alan Moeder catering, an autographed K-State football signed by Collin Klein, an autographed basketball signed by the entire KU Basketball team, and a Spa Package KSU and KU quilts and more. 

There will also be shirts available for purchase designed by Identifications Inc. and featuring a Superman logo and this year’s UWCK theme. “I want to give a special thanks to the Knights of Columbus for co-sponsoring this event with United Way and all the sponsors, agencies and volunteers and attendees that make this kickoff event grow each year,” said UWCK Executive Director Julie Bugner Smith.

United Way of Central Kansas helps to support 19 local non-profit agencies in Barton and Pawnee Counties, as well as numerous other community projects in the two counties. The goal for the 2016 Campaign is $275,000 which is distributed between these agencies and projects. UWCK is proud that 99 percent of the funds raised stay local in our community and go towards supporting our neighbors, friends, and family. 

Some of the projects that the United Way of Central Kansas has supported include the Born Learning Trail in Great Bend and Claflin, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Ellinwood and Larned, and the Crunch Out Obesity Program in Ellinwood. This year their focus is on childhood literacy and the health of our community due to the low ranking that Barton County has on state health data. 

UWCK is teaming up with the Barton County Young Professionals to help bring the Crunch Out Obesity program to schools in Barton County and it is also raising funds to provide literacy kits for all pre-kindergarten students who attend kindergarten round-up in Barton and Pawnee counties. 

To increase the number of students UWCK can provide these for, they are making their own flashcards to provide the students, and volunteers are always welcome to come by the office and help put these together. 

UWCK supports the following agencies that provide services in Barton and Pawnee Counties: Barton County Youth Care, Barton County Young Men’s Organization, Boy Scouts of America, Caring Hands Daycare Center, Catholic Social Services, Central Kansas CASA, Child Abuse Prevention Education, ElderCare, Inc, Ellinwood Heritage Senior Center, Family Crisis Center-Domestic & Sexual Violence Center and FCC Dell Hayden Memorial Child Advocacy Center, Golden Belt Home Health and Hospice, Great Bend Children’s Learning Center, Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland, Habitat for Humanity, Meals on Wheels, Orphan Grain Train, RSVP/Volunteers in Action, Salvation Army, Teen Court, and United Cerebral Palsy. 

To register to attend “Truth, Justice, and the United Way” Kickoff Event, visit and click on Events or call the office at 620-792-2403. 

Tickets for this entertaining night are only $50 and are still available for purchase. “They are selling fast, so get registered soon to make sure you don’t miss this great even,” Smith sid. 

To learn more about what UWCK is doing in our community, follow them on Facebook, United Way of Central Kansas or go to their website.