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Missouri Slope Areawide United Way raised $2.74 million for its 2018 programs and partner organizations.

“United Way stepped up in a big way this winter,” said the organization’s annual luncheon emcee, Terry Kraft.

The organization highlighted its work with area homeless when the Ruth Meiers Hospitality House men’s emergency shelter closed.

Executive Director Jena Gullo said the organization felt a moral obligation and has since raised $300,000 to temporarily house the homeless through June.

“We didn’t want people dying outside,” Gullo said.

United Way provided 1,199 nights of shelter to 224 people through December, and 13,701 nights of shelter were provided through United Way partners.

The organization also highlighted other programs such as Neighbor’s Network, which focuses on improving childhood education through in-home efforts to improve parenting and stabilize relationships, a Parkinson’s health program and daycare scholarships.

“Though homelessness is at the forefront, our other work still continues,” Gullo said.

In 2017, 52,000 Imagination Library books were delivered to 4,441 area preschoolers and 2,119,842 meals were provided to 40,839 people in need.

The highest fundraising dollar amounts for 2018 programs came from the following companies and their employees: CHI St. Alexius Health, U.S. Bank, Capital Credit Union, Wells Fargo, EMC Insurance, University of Mary, BNI Coal, Andeavor, KLJ, BNC National Bank, Aetna, Bismarck Public Schools, Eide Bailly, Bobcat, Sanford Health, Scheel’s, Starion Bank and MDU Resources. Basin Electric Power Cooperative was the top donor.

Starion Bank was honored for its $83,000 increase in donations and work with United Way’s Backpack Program to provide weekend meals to 1,083 area school kids in need. Odney was honored as a small business that donated $7,600 and donated marketing materials in relation to the homelessness response. Capital Credit Union employees were honored for their $6.300 increase in giving.

Ministry on the Margins and The Banquet were recognized for their aid to the homeless.

Scheel’s, Workforce Safety & Insurance and First International Bank & Trust were given Live United awards for their continued support of the organization, both through monetary donations and volunteerism.

MDU Resources was given United Way’s Spirit of Bismarck-Mandan award for its long-term commitment.

Reach Jessica Holdman at 701-250-8261 or jessica.holdman@bismarcktribune.com

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Business Reporter