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United Way making final campaign pushes

Brian Powers - bpowers@perutribune.com

The holidays are notorious for bringing out the giving spirit and this is the exact thing United Way of Miami County Executive Director Debi Wallick is relying on for the organization’s end of year campaign push.

Wallick said the United Way’s campaign is a bit behind schedule this year, and this is concerning.

“People stop in my office or see me walking in town and often ask how the campaign is going,” she said. “I’d love to say that we’re on pace to meet this year’s campaign goal, but, unfortunately, this is not the case.”

According to Wallick, the United Way is currently at around 46.9 percent of their $190,000 goal, but she’s hopeful for the final campaign events coming up.

Wallick said there are two more fundraisers with local restaurants coming up – one with Dairy Queen from 4 p.m. to close on Dec. 14 and one from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Dec. 12 with Wings, Etc – which will donate 15 percent of proceeds to the United Way. Wallick did note the Wings, Etc. date does require a flyer, however; she has some in her Main Street office for those who want one.

Not only are restaurants pitching in, but local businesses are also taking part in Denim Day in which employees may make a $5 donation to the United Way in order to wear jeans at work for the week. There are two weeks in which this event takes effect – Nov. 26-30 and Dec. 10-14, and Wallick said there is a much bigger meaning than just wearing jeans to work; the event is also about rape prevention.

Those interested in the correlation may read the story of a teenage girl being raped by her driving instructor, as well as the significance of wearing jeans at denimusa.org.

Also benefiting the United Way is a Dec. 10-22 push to shop local.

“We’re asking people in Miami County to shop at a participating local businesses, who will be giving 10-15 percent back to United Way,” she said.

Wallick said there are approximately 25 businesses participating, but those interested may register up to the day before Thanksgiving, which would make the deadline Nov. 21.

Aside from these events, Wallick stated there is one more reason to donate: a $40,000 matching grant from the Indiana State Association of United Way.

“Individuals who donate $100 or more will be matched by the grant,” Wallick said.

Also, for corporations or businesses donating for the first time, there will also be a 2-1 match, according to Wallick.

Wallick also said businesses are free to create their own donations campaigns, such as asking consumers to donate their change to the organization.

None of the money is wasted, Wallick assured, as each dollar goes back into Miami County in order to help its residents and failure to reach the campaign goal could have negative impacts in the community.

“All allotted dollars will be shrunk,” she said. “Each agency will be shortened what was given to them and their budgets shrunk.”

Wallick said there are misconceptions about what the United Way does, but she cleared that up by reassuring the organization acts as a good steward of donated monies.

“It’s a hand up,” she said. “Not a handout.”