‘Dine-out for United Way’ returns Oct. 21-27, offers community tasty way to show support

Last updated: October 11. 2013 6:26PM - 1230 Views
Lauren Williams Staff Writer

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The United Way of Sampson County is set to kick off its 2013 fundraising campaign this Tuesday, Oct 15. Although the campaign runs through the end of the year, United Way board members are encouraging the community to take advantage of the many fun and easy ways to get involved early and help the organization meet its $175,000 goal.

“The ushering in of the fall season reminds me of football, cooler temperatures, the turning of the leaves, and the annual United Way fundraising campaign,” shared United Way of Sampson County president Kenny Cabral.

Supporting the highly anticipated campaign is “investing in Sampson County. The money raised stays here,” said Nancy Carr, executive director of Sampson’s United Way.

Well aware that there are many organizations across the state, nation, and world worthy of support, “it’s nice to help your own community,” Carr noted. “There’s nothing like helping your neighbors.”

And United Way has made it easier than ever to make a difference in Sampson County.

“The campaign is targeted at individuals and businesses,” said Carr, explaining that anyone can visit the United Way of Sampson County’s website and make an online donation to the campaign. “We also accept corporate donations and run employee campaigns at businesses. Many people choose to contribute through payroll deduction. It’s very easy and they don’t even miss it (their donation) because it’s the price of a cup of coffee or a Big Mac.”

“We receive donations from a variety of ways, including individual and corporate donations. Our greatest campaign success stories, however, tend to come from the employee fundraising drives,” noted United Way board member Shawn Purvis. “I think it is because the employee drives make it easy for everyone to participate in giving to their community.”

Another way — a fun and delicious way — to support United Way’s campaign this year is to participate in the “Dine-Out for United Way” food fest which will be held Oct. 21-27.

First held for just one day in 2011, the dining event proved such a success that United Way decided to bring it back and expand it to a whole week, shared Carr, explaining that one local restaurant has been assigned to a specific day that week and has pledged to give a percentage of its sales from that day to the United Way campaign.

“You don’t have to cook at all that week. You can g0 have a wonderful meal and help the community at the same time,” she pointed out.

The participating restaurants are: Happy Belly Deli (Monday, Oct. 21), Tortillas Carolina (Tuesday, Oct. 22), Railroad St. Steak House (Wednesday, Oct. 23), Las Brasas (Thursday, Oct. 24), Alfredo’s Ristorante Italiano (Friday, Oct. 25), Ribeyes Steakhouse (Saturday, Oct. 26), and Oasis Oyster Bar and Grill (Sunday, Oct. 27).

“We’re thrilled to have a Roseboro restaurant — Railroad St. Steak House — involved this time because United Way is a Sampson County-wide effort,” Carr said, describing all of the restaurant owners as “very excited” and “so civic-minded.” “We’re also excited to offer Mexican restaurants this time too.”

“The week-long dining event is a great opportunity for United Way. We are extremely appreciative of the restaurants that are willing to participate,” said Purvis, “as it provides an easy way for anyone to contribute to United Way and support our community.”

Carr also praised the community at large for its continued support of United Way throughout the years. “We’ve been very pleased with the generosity of the community. Despite the current economic conditions, we still have loyal contributors.”

“We are truly fortunate to have such a strong network of donors who are willing to make an investment in their community and in United Way,” agreed Cabral.

It’s that dedication from the community that Carr knows will make this year’s campaign a success and help make 2014 a little easier for the many Sampson agencies and programs that United Way partners with.

The current United Way partner agencies that fundraising contributions help include Sampson Crisis Center, Girl Scouts-North Carolina Coastal Pines, Sampson County 4-H, Clinton Area Foundation for Education (C.A.F.E.), Boy Scouts of America Tuscarora Council, Sampson County Fireman’s Association, Sampson County Friends of Education, Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, U Care, Fitness Renaissance Program, and Delta Sigma Theta.

“Because of these fundraisers, individual donors and employer campaigns, United Way can help support an array of agencies and organizations who touch the lives of so many within the communities throughout Sampson County,” shared Cabral. “Promoting healthy lifestyles, developing our youth, lending a helping hand to those facing a crisis and being a resource for those who need assistance, are some of the areas United Way supports and recognizes as being key components in the enrichment and sustainability of our county.”

“Our main mission is to improve the quality of life in Sampson County,” Carr stressed.

One of the ways that United Way is working to make strides in that mission is through its community needs survey which is still available on the organization’s website for community members to take part in.

“It’s still in the process of being completed,” said Carr, mentioning that United Way would like to receive at least 400 completed surveys back. “The results will be used to identify the areas in Sampson County that really need the most help.”

Making such identifications is important as the organization begins distributing the funds it has raised.

“So many agencies and programs are feeling the tightening of the purse strings,” acknowledged Carr. “The survey will help us hammer down the broad categories so that we can start funneling our funds that we raise to those specific ways to better meet the needs of the community.”

Individuals interested in contributing to United Way’s campaign can go online to www.unitedwaysampson.org and make donations or mail donations to P.O. Box 1677, Clinton, NC 28329.

Businesses interested in holding an employee campaign or making a corporate donation can contact Nancy Carr at 910-592-4263 for more information.

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at lwilliams@civitasmedia.com.

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