MANKATO—With the help of generous regional supporters, Greater Mankato Area United Way continues to address social isolation and ensure older adults in care facilities can stay connected through technology.


This week, volunteers are helping United Way deliver an additional 22 Kindle Fire tablets to senior care facilities, bringing the total donated to 152 devices to 22 facilities in United Way’s service area of Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Nicollet and Waseca counties.


Staff at care facilities have been helping residents put the devices to use. Many have used the Kindles for talking with family, participating in music therapy, viewing videos and more.


United Way is accepting donations for the Kindle initiative on a rolling basis.


“Social connection is instrumental to an individual’s emotional and mental health,” said Greater Mankato Area United Way CEO Barb Kaus. “Connection to others can help ease loneliness, stress, and depression. By providing technology to older adults, we can offer them a means of communication and connection to family and other loved ones who are unable to visit during these times of crisis.”


The initiative began when Nate Erickson, administrator at Mankato’s Ophthalmology Associates, approached Kaus with the idea of providing devices to older adults who are socially isolated during COVID-19 restrictions. United Way took on the role of convening and connecting.


Donors included service clubs, individuals and businesses throughout the region. District #77 also loaned additional tablets.


The initiative is an example of Greater Mankato Area United Way’s mission of convening people and organizations to resources.


Donors to this initiative include:



Cory Abels

Diane Beckmann, Thrivent Financial – Waseca

Connors Plumbing & Heating

Pam DeMarce, Wow!Zone Family Entertainment Center

Exchange Club of Waseca

Greater Mankato Rotary Club

Kiwanis Club of Mankato

Mankato Sunrise Lions Club

Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging

Minnesota Valley Civitan Club

Ophthalmology Associates

Optimist Club of Minnesota Valley

Sertoma of Greater Mankato

Jaye Sopkowiak

St. Peter Lions Club

St. Peter Rotary

Target Mankato

Waseca Lions Club

Waseca Rotary Club