As United Way campaign kicks off, meet new area coordinator
Summer Hammond is the newest addition to the Otter Tail and Wadena County United Way.
Summer Hammond is the newest addition to the Otter Tail and Wadena County United Way . She is the organization's new area coordinator for Perham and Wadena.
Hammond has nearly 20 years of experience in the world of health care and in charity work. She is coming to the area from West Fargo, N.D., but is originally from Barnesville, Minn.
Hammond says the decision to move to the Perham area came after her husband's job changed so that they could move this way. After the decision was made to make the move away from the Fargo area, Hammond saw the opening with the United Way, “so I went, 'oh I’m going to apply for that,'” she said. “After a couple different interviews and talking back and forth about it, I accepted the position”
Hammond is working from her home in West Fargo on Mondays and Fridays and spends her Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in the East Otter Tail area and Wadena. Hammond says she will be working every day in the area as soon as her family finds a house in Perham.
Hammond started at the United Way at the beginning of September. As the United Way’s Perham and Wadena Area Coordinator, “I will be Mary Phillipe (Executive Director of the Otter Tail and Wadena Counties United Way) right-hand person, building relationships with the companies and with the community to bring more awareness to the United Way,” Hammond said.
“To be out here and be present is hard when there’s not somebody out here every day who’s talking to people and you see,” Hammond said. “That’s what I’m going to be out here doing.”
The Otter Tail and Wadena Counties United Way works on many campaigns and has multiple programs in Wadena and Otter Tail Counties such as Coats for Kids and Stuff the Bus, Hammond said.
Hammond will be working with and coordinating local volunteers for all of the United Way’s fun events taking place in the area.
"The biggest thing United Way does is they do their annual campaign (to raise funds to help support their partnering program and internal initiatives)," Hammond said. She said that Otter Tail County and Wadena's goal this year for the campaign is to raise $400,000. Each area of the counties has its own goal towards the overall goal.
The East Otter Tail area of Perham, Dent, New York Mills, and Vergas has the goal of raising $45,000 and Wadena has the goal of $36,000.
Perham's campaign kicks off on Sept. 30 and runs till Oct. 15, Hammond said. She said that Wadena's will kicked off on Sept. 29 and run till Oct. 13.
She and her husband, Eric, have two children, Heath, 12, and Bailey, 9.
While Hammond is new to the United Way, she and her family are not completely new to the area. “We have a place on Big McDonald with my parents,” Hammond said.
“Virtually my hobbies are my kids,” Hammond said. “My kids are very busy with sports, my son plays hockey and my daughter’s a dancer.”
“I like to take pictures, so I do that sometimes but other than that I feel like I do nothing outside of my kids,” Hammond said.
Hammond said the COVID-19 pandemic shutting everything down, her family really got a chance to reconnect and she hopes to keep that connection up in Perham.
“I already love the area,” she said. She said everyone she has met has been welcoming and she is looking forward to learning to love the area even more than she already does.