Volunteer Voices

Tonya Felhofer (left) and her mother-in-law enjoy United Way’s annual Chefs for a Day event.

When Tonya Felhofer moved to Door County, the first thing she did was track down the local United Way office. Tonya, who was working as an event coordinator for the American Cancer Society, loved the idea of working with an organization that touched the lives of so many.

“The United Way is a great opportunity to work with an agency that supports numerous programs,” said Tonya. “You can actually watch the ripple effect of one agency’s work spreading out throughout the community.”

Tonya’s belief is that there’s a “quiet need” out there. “People don’t necessarily tell you what their needs are or even make you aware of who they are,” she said. “If you knew a neighbor needed some help, you’d be right there. The United Way tries to identify the needs of the community so we can help those that need the help.”

Tonya also believes that it’s important to lead by example and to make sure her daughters know the importance of volunteering, too. So much, in fact, that one of her girls told her, “When I grow up, I want to be a volunteer just like you!”

“We want our kids to see us taking care of the community, because in turn, the community will then take care of you,” Tonya said.

Tonya’s love of volunteering comes from her concern for those who feel lonely or desperate. “I want people to know that there are agencies out there that can help. We’re in this community to take care of each other and that helps to keep our community safe.”

Tonya and her husband, Mike, have served as Co-Chairs for the annual United Way campaign but the “Chefs for a Day” event, has to be her favorite volunteer opportunity.

“It’s fun, there’s great food and it’s for a great cause,” Tonya said. A great cause that definitely benefits from the hard work of a very committed volunteer in Tonya Felhofer.

The focus of United Way of Door County is to empower people to build better lives. In 2011, United Way will provide funding to nearly 40 human services programs, which will assist more than 9,000 Door County residents. They encourage people to LIVE UNITED, which is simply to Give, Advocate or Volunteer in their community.

The Volunteer Center is located at 62 S. Third Avenue in Sturgeon Bay. For volunteer opportunities that might fit you, please visit the Volunteer Center of Door County at or email [email protected]. Start your volunteer career today!