Fredericksburg Parent

November 2012

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Rappahannock United Way Doing Good for the Community Communication Director of the Rappahannock United Way in Fredericksburg about the work they do in our community. W ing, Fredericksburg Parent & Family Magazine had the chance to speak with John Kowalski, ith the holiday season rapidly approach- What is Rappahannock United Way and how do they serve in the community? John Kowalski: Rappahannock United Way is a nonprofit organi- zation working Fredericksburg and the counties of Spotsylvania, Stafford, Caroline and King George. Its goal is that more house- holds emerge from poverty and achieve greater financial stabil- ity thought education, income and health. Our community is stronger and a better place to live when children succeed in school, families are financially stable and all individuals have good health. As a Volunteer organization, what does it do? JK: United Way teer projects each year. This year, 600 volunteers from the Fredericksburg area (including Spotsylvania and Stafford coun- ties) and Caroline and King George counties volunteered 3,000 hours of their time which provided a value of over $70,000 to the greater area. numerous volun- teer opportunities to engage in the commu- nity. Days of Caring are biggest volun- Rappahannock provides our Can you identify one function of the organization that people may not associate RUW with? JK: Each year, Rappahannock United Way trains volunteers to prepare and file income tax returns at no charge for families that have a total household income of less than $50,000. 2012, our trained volunteers helped to prepare over 1,000 free tax returns for local community members, which saved them $213,000 in tax preparation fees and returned a collective $1.5 million into the pockets of those community members. In With the holidays approaching, what types of assistance do you lend a hand in? JK: During the holidays, we receive a lot of calls from peo- ple wanting to get help and give help. There is a particular need for food and energy assis- tance throughout the holiday season, especially for children and the agencies will distribute holiday wish lists to support those in need. Last year, 21 local nonprofit agencies submitted wish lists with much needed items people could donate. We are able to direct those in need during the holidays to elderly. Nonprofit agencies that are able to help them. Anyone seeking holiday assistance or those wishing to donate or volunteer, they may call us at (540) 373-0041 and dial 0 to speak to a staff member or visit our website, or 18 Fredericksburg Parent and Family • November 2012

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