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Celebrating a milestone: Wine tasting and silent auction mark 50th United Way campaign

United Way of Dickinson is celebrating its 50th campaign with a wine tasting and silent auction.

"It's a fundraiser and it's to create awareness of what United Way does -- we provide funding for 20 local nonprofit agencies," executive director Jill Gregoire said.

The wine tasting is 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Ramada Grand Dakota Lodge. Music will be provided by Gayla Sherman, Bismarck harpist.

A variety of items have been donated, including a quilt, gift baskets and jewelry.

The wine and appetizers will be provided by Ramada, and the major sponsors are Endeavor Engineering and Wyoming Casing.

The wine tasting is open to the public; participants must be ages 21 and older to attend.

"It's an opportunity to do something different and to support a great cause," Gregoire said.

United Way President Scott Bullinger said the wine tasting is an opportunity to reflect on the past 50 years of fundraising.

"Plus, it's to get our name out there and let everybody know what we're about," he said. "I think we provide a valuable service to 20 agencies."

Bullinger, who has served on the board for five years, said the members have an opportunity to meet the agency representatives.

"They let us know their stories -- I think it's moving to see who we're helping and where the money is going," he said.

This is Becky Meduna's first year on the board, serving as United Way campaign chairwoman.

She's learned that people have been very receptive to the United Way message.

"You look at the needs in the community and how United Way can address some of those needs -- not only students, but the elderly and homeless," she said.

United Way always has a need for volunteers.

"They get the message out in the community of the needs," she said. "The success of an agency such as this is dependent on its volunteers."

United Way will hold its annual meeting at noon, April 8, at the Elks. It's an opportunity to celebrate the donors and agencies, Gregoire said.

United Way is nearing $239,000 in donations -- up $2,000 from last year.

"We've had lots of people moving into the area -- we encourage them to become part of the community," Gregoire said. "Maybe getting involved in United Way is one way to do that."

She said the needs of the agencies have sky rocked in recent years.

"They're asked to do so much more with so much less," she said."

Tickets are on sale with a limited number available the day of the event.

Tickets are $30 per person. Call 701-483-1233 to purchase tickets or contact a United Way of Dickinson board member.