Live United: United Way updates for a 7-year-old and the community – Albert Lea Tribune


Live United: United Way updates for a 7-year-old and the community

Posted at 8:45 p.m. on Friday, September 23, 2022

Live United by Erin Haag

I often rise in the dark hours of Friday morning, cherishing my quiet home. Even the chickens are still sleeping. I think about all the things I’m going to do. It’s going to be a productive day! I will complete all the details for the week. This Friday morning, I settled into my chair with my favorite blanket and opened a new page to write this article. I look up and my son is standing in front of me, fully dressed with the biggest smile on his face. He happily snuggled up to me, and I think I’m going to write a few minutes with him by my side. Then the questions started.

Erin Haag

“Mom, why are you highlighting those words? Mom, how are the Ukrainian families? I had fun with them at Homecoming. Mom, how did the pantry go? Is this lady okay? Do you still have those potatoes? Mom, when’s the fundraiser you were talking about? Can I go there? Can we have Jenna as a babysitter? Mom, when will the sun rise? Mom, I saw a brown bat yesterday. Mom, are there people coming to get the coats? Do you need help hanging your coats? »

True story my friends, arrived yesterday morning. Those of you who know my son are probably hearing his voice right now. I am both exasperated and charmed by his questions and his interest in my work, in his community, and the fact that he really listens to me and his dad talk about our days. I realized however that although his questions are the questions of a 7 year old boy, the questions are probably not that different from what I should write about anyway. So this is it. The answer to my son’s questions about what was supposed to be a dark and quiet Friday morning.

“I highlight the words from this list that Ukrainian families still need. We are looking for lamps, end tables, TV stands, vacuum cleaners and mops and brooms, laundry baskets and rolling pins as well as diapers, wipes and toys for the baby we don’t have. haven’t met yet. She is 9 months old. The families are doing well, settling in and working to enroll in school. Mom will be updating the list later today (Friday) on the website, so people know what’s left to donate.

“The pantry went well. We tried a new setup so there was less queuing and people were able to wait inside after we opened. It will be better when it is colder. A lot of people, especially our elders, didn’t go out on Tuesday because of the heat. It can be dangerous to go anywhere when you’re older and it’s very hot. We had a mini food distribution at our office for those on Thursday, and a lot more people came to shop then. We only have onions left, nothing else! The lady we had to call 911 for is fine. She came on Thursday, and we were so happy to see her! She had a bad infection so they were able to take her to the doctor and give her some meds and she feels already then much better.

“No, little boys don’t come to the fundraiser. It’s for the grown-ups. Jenna went to college, so we’re gonna find a new babysitter. But I can’t wait for people to come and discover Centraide during the Casino fundraising evening on October 14. I’m a little nervous, this is our first big fundraiser in a few years. It will be great fun to play card games, eat delicious appetizers and talk to people. Nikolle and Heidi are working to solicit donations for the silent auction. Your sister is going to make a painting, so if you want to do something, you can. We will also have famous dealers! Do you remember Lieutenant Strom who works for the Albert Lea Police Department? He will become a dealer. We ask other people to be resellers as well. Tickets go on sale Monday at CVB, Albert Lea Y and on our website at

For the record, my son is now looking to become a dealer himself. He thinks he would be good at it because he loves talking to people and people love talking to him and he can wow them with animal facts. I’m kind of tempted to see if we can do that, because I don’t think it’s just a mom’s bias that he’s entertaining.

“You did a great job helping Mom hang up those coats after the coat rack collapsed. The new coat rack will arrive next week. We’ll be setting up the drop boxes all over town next week, and you can help me if I don’t have enough volunteers. I’m going to call other businesses today to finish seeing who wants drop boxes.”

Finally, my dear boy, the sun will rise no matter how long the night. It always does, it always will. “Yeah mom, the sun is gonna come up, and then the chickens are gonna start talking and I’m gonna get 100% on my spelling test, and you’re gonna do a lot of homework, and then we can have a movie night.”

So. Lots to say and lots of ways to help. To find out more about these things, call me at 507-373-8670 or email me at [email protected]

Even on dark, calm mornings, or bright, sunny afternoons, I would like to sit down and have a conversation about anything.

Erin Haag is the Executive Director of United Way of Freeborn County.


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