Throughout the summer, we learned all about individuals who are living out the motto of the United Way to Be the Change. Today, you have the opportunity to live out that motto.

It is your turn to Be the Change.

Throughout the summer, we learned all about individuals who are living out the motto of the United Way to Be the Change. Today, you have the opportunity to live out that motto.

The 2018-19 United Way Campaign kicks off Thursday at The Taste of the Mark Twain Area at the Rialto Theater in downtown Hannibal. The Campaign Kick-Off celebrates the formal beginning of the campaign and the need for the United Way within our community.

The United Way of the Mark Twain Area is working to empower all individuals to achieve their potential. This is done by raising dollars in the local community and investing them in local nonprofit organizations that implement programs to promote education, financial stability, and healthy lives.

Imagine a community where everyone is truly empowered to reach their potential. At the United Way, that is the goal. You can assist in that goal coming to fruition.

This year, more than 30,000 individuals in Lewis, Marion, Monroe, Ralls and Shelby counties will benefit from the work of the United Way of the Mark Twain Area. 

More than 11,000 individuals in the area will receive food from local food banks, buddy packs, and/or senior nutrition centers.

More than 7,000 young people will be equipped with knowledge to make safe choices.

More than 1,000 students will receive the necessary support to succeed in school.

More than 400 uninsured individuals will receive needed healthcare.

More than 150 disabled individuals will be provided needed support to obtain more independence.

More than 100 individuals will receive assistance to prevent homelessness.

“Often we look around our communities and see things we want to change, improve, or do differently,” explained Jill Janes, the 2018-19 United Way Campaign Chair. “By working with the United Way, you have the opportunity to be the change you want to see in your community.”

The Taste of the Mark Twain Area kicks off the organization’s campaign season. The goal of this year’s campaign is $400,000. From this campaign 26 area non-profits will receive a monthly check to assist in funding their programs. Checks will be dispersed from November of 2018 to October of 2019.

“United Way dollars are essential for us,” shared Sandra Ahlum, M.D. and President of the CHART Teen Task Force, an agency of the United Way.

Individuals are encouraged to attend the campaign kick-off and give to the United Way’s Campaign.

“Your contribution to the United Way can support the changes that ensure our communities are strong and vital for all,” said Janes.

The evening’s Campaign Kick-off will include food, fun, and entertainment from 5:30-8 p.m. Tickets are $10 per person, $25 per family and available at the door. Food will be included with the price of the ticket.

“No matter the amount of the gift, all dollars support the vision we have for the community,” shared Denise Damron, United Way Executive Director. “When giving a financial gift to the United Way people are living out our motto to Be the Change.”

Individuals can mail contributions to the United Way’s Campaign at PO Box 81 Hannibal, MO or give online at


Brenda Juette gives a voice to children in foster care during court proceedings through her volunteer work through CASA. She spends about 10 hours a month dedicated to this cause.

Betty Anderson, RN, and Dr. Jeffrey Wells ensure individuals in the community who do not have health insurance are able to receive needed healthcare at the Hannibal Free Clinic.

With support from Learning Opportunities/Quality Works, Kevin Jones delivers meals to local seniors for the Monroe City Senior Center and assists families receiving food at the Monroe City Food Bank.

Renee Bennett volunteers countless hours to make certain the 1,000+ local kids who go to the YMCA continue having this safe, fun, and educational environment.

Claudia Buckman dedicates her free time to write grants and oversee several aspects of the CHART Teen Task Force in order for programs to take place locally that give teens a real life look at parenting in order to decrease the number of unintended births to teens.

Three generations of the Mattingly family come together each Friday to deliver meals to local seniors that are prepared at the Paris Senior Center.

Markell Strickland inspires youth to reach their fullest potential through his work with youth who participate in the Kids in Motion Program.

Justin Gibson remains determined to ensure his mentee knows the possibilities the future holds by spending an hour each week during the school year mentoring through HAY’s mentoring program.

Becky Steffa feeds over 150 kids a healthy meal each day during the summer through the Community Outreach Initiatives Summer Lunch Program at Douglass Community Services.

Michelle Dean keeps the Ralls County NECAC office running so individuals can receive needed services to help them rise above poverty.

Charles Krieg dedicates endless hours of work to keep the lights on and everything in working order so Shelby County Seniors can eat hot meals at the Shelby County Senior Citizens Association.

Nate Ross assists with whatever needs done at the Salvation Army so individuals have their basic needs met.

Melissa Rainey ensures children have the right support in place so they can reach educational goals through her work with the Hannibal Parents as Teachers program.

Agencies benefiting from the United Way’s 2018-19 campaign


-Caring Hands Tutoring

-Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

-CHART Teen Task Force

-Community Outreach Initiatives (Douglass)

-Community Support Services (Douglass)

-Families and Communities Together (FACT)

-Hannibal Free Clinic

-Hannibal Parents as Teachers

-Hannibal Alliance for Youth Success (HAYS)

-Head Start and Early Head Start

-Heartland Resources, Inc.

-Kids in Motion/Teens in Motion

-Learning Opportunities Quality Works

-Monroe City Food Bank

-Monroe City Senior Nutrition Center

-Monroe City R-1 Student Success Center


-Paris Senior Citizens Community Center

-Shelby County Senior Citizens Association

-The Child Center

-The Salvation Army

-Wider Opportunities, Inc.