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Block Party Blowout

UWJC to host community event Thursday to kick off this year’s campaign

As a last hurrah for summer, the United Way of Jasper County is hosting a Community Block Party Thursday and everyone is invited. 

United Way of Jasper County Executive Director Jessica Lowe Vokes said the event will feature plenty of activities for all ages. The event will be from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Legacy Plaza Courtyard. 

“We are trying to have a big, giant summer blowout,” Lowe Vokes said.

The block party will feature giant games like Connect 4, Yahtzee, cards and “pop pong.” The UWJC will also have a prize wheel that kids can spin and get the chance to win something special. There will also be free popsicles for all the children who attend. 

Gezellig Brewery will host family Bingo during the event with prizes for all ages. Lowe Vokes said there will also be food trucks on site with food available for purchase. All of the activities are free, including face painting by Sommer Kibbe. 

“She does amazing face painting,” Lowe Vokes said. 

One piece of the event Lowe Vokes is particularly excited about is the volunteer fair. Many of the nonprofit organizations that serve Jasper County will be there to showcase the services they provide. Each organization will have a booth with activities for kids and adults with people on hand to explain a little bit more the organization. 

“There’s a wide variety of services that are being provided,” Lowe Vokes Said. “We want everyone to have the opportunity to learn about all the services that are out there so if they need them, they can get them.”

Those interested in volunteering for the organizations will also be able to explore those opportunities, as well. Lowe Vokes said it is a great way for people to not only learn about the nonprofits but also have the chance to be supportive of their services as well. 

“If people are interested in helping with that group, they’ll be able to sign up and get on their volunteer list and learn about volunteer opportunities,” she said. 

The event marks the kickoff of this year’s United Way campaign with the local organization striving to reach the fundraising goal of $330,000. Lowe Vokes described the event as more of an awareness of the campaign. It will serve as a visual to community members what nonprofit organizations and services the fundraising is for. 

“It goes to some of these nonprofits. It goes to supporting community activities and events and ensuring people can have a great quality of life. It’s kind of a reminder that the United Way is here and we’re doing some really great stuff. It’s kind of a per-celebration on how great the campaign will go,” Lowe Vokes said. 

Lowe Vokes said the campaign will really focus on targeting area businesses for its support in the fundraising efforts. She sees that as the best way to get in front of people to explain the services out there and the best way to support these efforts. 

She also said some of the returning favorite events are well into the planning stages. The annual Book Sale will be in October and the ever-popular UWJC Autograph and Experience Auction is set for Nov. 1. 

But it all starts at the Block Party. 

“We hope Thursday will be a fun night for people to come out and before summer is over with and relax and enjoy and check out the Block Party and volunteer fair and have a good time,” Lowe Vokes said. 

For more information about the UWJC, visit the website at or for more information about upcoming events, find them on Facebook. 

Contact Pam Pratt at 641-792-3121 ext. 6530 or

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