Want to come LIVE UNITED this summer?

Hard to believe with the long winter we had, but summer really is just around the corner. For us, the past few months have been consumed with events including our Community Farming Day of Caring, the Community Baby Shower and two food packaging events just last week which produced 40,000 meals for the food pantries of Greater Nashua. Under normal circumstances, we might sit back and “rest a spell.” However, I am blessed to work at an organization which takes its mission of community impact seriously, and that means doing things during the summer, too!

For starters, in under two weeks, we are hosting our 2nd annual LIVE UNITED Over the Edge Event at the Brady Sullivan Tower in Manchester. This year, we have more than a hundred participants and have set our sites on raising upward of $200,000 for 20 different nonprofits. We have plenty of people going “over the edge,” but now we need volunteers to help run the event. All of the information about available shifts and responsibilities can be found on the United Way of Greater Nashua agency page at www.VolunteerGreaterNashua.org. This even includes an opportunity to sign up as a “Ropes Volunteer,” which is compensated for by getting to rappel off the building! We also are raffling off three spots to rappel Friday afternoon, if you are interested in the thrill of going off the top of a 24-story building. I did it last year, along with my daughter, and am again doing it this year. Trust me, you won’t be sorry! You can enter the raffle for $100 by texting the word edge2018148 to the number 71777, and the proceeds go toward the charities supported through the event. Only 45 spots are being raffled off for three rappels, so your odds are pretty good, one in 15, of winning this thrilling opportunity.

So, what’s the tie-in to United Way with an event like this? The answer is simple: as a partner in the community that helps to fund and support many different nonprofits, we see how competitive fundraising can be. In this community fundraiser, the funds each agency raises supports their own organization and the spirit of teamwork and collaboration of 20ish nonprofits all working toward a common goal is truly an example of LIVING UNITED. I’m hoping that many of you reading this article will consider volunteering for the event as well as coming up to Manchester on June 28 and 29 to check it out. Much more information about the event can be found on our website, www.UnitedWayNashua.org, under the “events” tab.

While you’re on that page on our website, please check out two more events we have in store for the community. On July 12, we are having our Annual Donor and Volunteer Recognition event at the Nashua Silver Knights game. We will have three suites available and 500 tickets for those who have either donated to or volunteered with United Way. There is no cost to attend and all you must do is sign up! You can do that also on our agency page on VolunteerGreaterNashua.org, and we truly are hoping to see many of you there for a wonderful evening of family friendly fun.

On a much more serious note, our 3rd annual “United We Sleep to End Hunger and Homelessness” is planned for September 21-22. This sleepout is an opportunity to learn from experts about the root causes of homelessness and to explore solutions. Of course, it is a fundraiser, and over the past two years, has raised about $140,000 for the programs we support that break the cycle of poverty. These programs run the gamut from transitional housing, which gets homeless people on a path to sustainability, to after-school and adult day programs, which give parents and family members the much-needed opportunity to work while their loved ones are taken care of, to access to food supports like meals-on-wheels and access to dental care for low-income children and adults. All these programs, taken together, work toward that goal of breaking people out of permanent and sometimes generational poverty. We would like to see many people join us at the sleepout this year and are encouraging “teams” to participate. If your company, school, youth group, church or organization is interested, or if you yourself are interested in joining in, you can learn more, sign up and support the event, all on our website under “events.”

So, as we think about summer, the beach, the mountains, the lake and picnics, we also remember that our community has needs, the real and tangible needs of our less fortunate neighbors, and that by working together, by LIVING UNITED, we can make a difference.

Mike Apfelberg is president of United Way of Greater Nashua.