Group Volunteering Opportunities for You and Your Friends

Do you have a book group, knitting nook, biking pals, running mates or friends and family who would like to take the volunteer challenge as a group during National Volunteer Week in April? How about planning an activity for May? (April plans bring May hands?)

Here are some great group volunteering activities the Northfield Area United Way can connect you with. To get started, contact Elizabeth Child, NAUW executive director, or 507-664-3510.

Northfield Public Schools

Reading to small groups of children or doing an art activity with a small group. Can accommodate a large group of volunteers.

Greenvale Park Community School in Northfield

Grade level community meals (similar to Thursday’s Table for families by grade levels).  We are currently looking for volunteers on Thursday, May 14.  Below are the positions we need to fill that evening.

Prep Cook 1, 3-5:30 Prep Cook 2, 3-5:30 Pots/pans scrubber 1, 3:30-5:30pm Server 1, 5-7pm Server 2, 5-7pm Server 3, 5-7pm Server 4, 5-7pm Pots/pans scrubber 2, 5:30-7:30pm Cleanup 1, 5:30-7:30pm Cleanup 2, 5:30-7:30pm Cleanup 3, 5:30-7:30pm

Union of Youth (the Key) in Northfield

Yard work/planting/ gardening in our backyard. Flexible date.

Mother’s Day event on Friday, May 8 in CAC in Northfield (event for seniors)

9:30 am. Setting tables

10:30-1 p.m. assist with dishing food or doing dishes

10:45 serving food, coffee, bussing tables

11:30 meals will be served and clean up follows

Seeds Farm, May through September, in Northfield

Volunteer to help cultivate fresh produce and substantially reduce the cost of nutritious foods for local families. Your commitment? 9 hours on the farm.

Hope Center in Faribault

Painting hallways and front office area. Times are flexible. Many volunteers can be accommodated.

IRIS (Infants Remembered In Silence) in Faribault

Paint inside, Prep for outside painting, Paint outside (weather allowing),  remove old bathroom fixtures/plumbing, hang sheetrock, clean garage out, house cleaning, inventory…. the list goes on and on and on! Times are flexible.

Seeds Farm, May through September, in Northfield

Volunteer to help cultivate fresh produce and substantially reduce the cost of nutritious foods for local families. Your commitment? 9 hours on the farm.


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Be a volunteer gardener this summer!

Mobile Vegetable Market

Farm-to-Table for to Low-Income Residents

Do you like to garden? Want to help cultivate farm-fresh foods for low-income residents? Volunteer between late May and late September!

Little is more important to the health of families than eating fresh, unprocessed foods. We have incredible resources in Northfield, but many families can’t afford locally grown foods or don’t have ready access to them.

So, the Northfield Area United Way is launching a volunteer program with Seeds Farm on the southern edge of Northfield. Seeds Farm is able to subsidize farm shares through a program called ‘worker share’ where devoted volunteers help out on the farm. As a volunteer farmer, you help keep the cost of food down. Once harvested, the food is distributed in farmers markets near low-income neighborhoods as part of Growing  Up Healthy’s Martes en el Parque (Tuesdays in the Park) program, pictured. Volunteers are asked to commit 3 hours a week, for 3 weeks (or more) — 9 hours total — plus a training session in early May.

Please let the Northfield Area United Way know if you are interested in volunteering, today! Contact Elizabeth Child,






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Attention Donors! Thank You Reception and FREE Try the YMCA Days

As a donor, you are invited to a United Way Donor Reception and 2 days to try the YMCA, FREE ALL DAY Friday, February  6 and Saturday, February 7, 2015.  Also, join us in the Y’s community room for a special Thank you Donor Reception with refreshments and prizes, plus the fabulous opportunity to meet our board and staff members, sign up kids ages 0-5 for Imagination Library offering free books, and join our brand new 100% Local Volunteer Challenge. The reception is happening:

  • Friday, February 6, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, February 7, 9-11 a.m.

Try-the-Y Days are all day Friday and Saturday, and you may come and go as many times as you want, along with either a guest or your family members (all free).

  • Y-Try Hours: Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, 7a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Child Watch with up to 2 hours of free child care: Friday 8 a.m. to noon and 4-7 p.m.
  • Try 40+ cardio machines, plus weight machines/free weights and group fitness classes
  • The pool: Lap swim is 5:30-8:30 a.m. Fri and 7-9 a.m. Sat, see the website ( for Open Swim  The slide is open Sat. noon-5 p.m.
  • Enjoy free WIFI in the community room

So, if you are looking for some fun activities to do with a friend or your family, feel free to check it out!  There is no obligation!  If you want more specifics on what the Y has to offer, current swim lesson or class schedules, etc., please see their website:

Thank you for your donation to the United Way and to our community. Hope to see you there!

Elizabeth Child, Executive Director

Northfield Area United Way

Posted in Community

New Stats in Giving May Surprise You

Fundraising nerds, the stats are in. Americans still give about 3 percent of their income to charities and have for decades, according to a new report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  But that figure doesn’t tell the really interesting story – one that I believe tells of a sense of community where most of us live – at the lower and middle parts of the income spectrum.

While it seems unfortunate that Americans earning more than $200,000 reduced their giving by 4.6 percent between 2006 and 2012 –  the figures just released – it is also heartening that lower income and middle income Americans increased their percentage of giving. Those making under $100,000 upped their contributions by $4.5 percent. The down side to this, of course, is the money they spend on charity may come out of essential needs. Yet I have to believe there is a pay back in the connection and the pride that they can contribute to their neighbors’ well-being.

What about the Why?

I wish I knew why these stats are as they are. What I do know is that the Northfield Area tracks pretty closely with the national data. Between 2006 and 2012 giving did go down a bit here per capita. We give close to the average – 3.13 percent.  We used to give 3.21 percent in 2006.

Less is more

Here’s a staggering figure – those who make under $25,000 give more than twice the average percentage – 7.79 percent – to charities. These figures are based on tax returns. I’m guessing the amount could be higher since many people don’t itemize at the lower to middle end of the income spectrum. Could a tax accountant weigh in please?

Northfield trends

The 55057 (Northfield) area code’s biggest giving total comes from those earning $100,000 to $200,000 – giving Northfield more than $5 million of the more than $16 million given in 2012. They give 3.05 percent of their income, as do those making $200,000 and up.

What I have observed at the Northfield Area United Way in 2014, though our campaign is not over, is exactly what is reported nationally – lower to middle income residents are stretching to give. Those at higher incomes are giving less to the United Way. Anecdotally, I hear major capital campaigns could be affecting annual giving for foundational services. Others remain committed to the United Way mission.

Why do you think it’s happening?

I would love to hear your comments on the reason behind these giving trends.



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The 100% Local Music Festival for United Way

Like doing good? Like local music? Have we got a party for you.

100 Percent Local Music Festival - poster

The 100% Local is a weekend of great music by local bands to raise money for Northfield Area United Way. It takes place Friday, October 4 and Saturday, October 5 at the Contented Cow, with support from Just Foods Co-op and Southern MN Scene.  Music starts at 5:00pm, and goes into the night with a rollicking line up of superb musicians. Continue reading

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