Heart of Missouri United Way launches community campaign

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COLUMBIA – The Heart of Missouri United Way kicks off its 2016 community campaign Friday with a ribbon cutting, guest speakers and a supplies drive.

The kickoff will be at the Shelter Insurance Training Center from 7:30 to 9 a.m.

The supplies drive will benefit 23 agencies that are partnered with United Way, including Boys and Girls Club of Columbia, Rainbow House and True North of Columbia.

2016 Community Campaign Chairs Mike and Sarah Messer will host the event. Mike Messer said the kickoff represents an achievement of the whole community.

“The kickoff is a community event that represents the collaboration of hundreds of volunteers that come together to encourage the community to donate to United Way so we can alleviate poverty,” he said.

Andrew Grabau, executive director of Heart of Missouri United Way, said the campaign kickoff will bring together donors, volunteers, city leaders and other members of the community. He said the event is more than just a celebration.

“The launching of the campaign prepares the community to once again open up their hearts to generously support the areas of impact so that we can come together and address the real needs in our community,” Grabau said.

The guest speakers will include Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Peter Stiepleman and Shelter Insurance President Rick Means.

The event will also include the unveiling of the 2016 campaign video and an announcement from Heart of Missouri United Way.