In the midst of tough times, the philosophy for United Way of Erie County appears to be one of cautious optimism.
Since the campaign’s official kickoff four weeks ago, the nonprofit organization has reached about 10 percent of its goal to raise $750,000 for community agencies this year, executive director Pamela Colbert-Brumbaugh said.
“At this stage, we’re really trying to get out there, let people know the need is greater than ever,” Colbert-Brumbaugh said. “Those who have given before may not be able to, but a lot of people really need help this year.”
The campaign runs through the end of December, and organizers set the fundraising bar slightly lower this year after falling about $150,000 short of last year’s $965,000 mark.
Several new events already have generated excitement in the community — including the kickoff event for the Tour of Homes, which raised almost $1,600.
Fundraising efforts are also under way in less visible ways.
Colbert-Brumbaugh said many businesses are taking advantage of payroll deductions, allowing employees to give automatically.
The campaign also accepts credit cards and payment plans, allowing people to spread their contributions throughout the year.
United Way works through a volunteer board of directors to set funding priorities for its 23 partner agencies. After receiving funding requests, the board meets regularly to examine agency budgets, allocate money and monitor the effectiveness of agency programs.
In addition to filtering money through to agencies, United Way also serves by partnering with other community resources. The entity partnered with the Sandusky Schools for a uniform drive, remains active in the Save Our Homes foreclosure prevention task force and provides input to the Transportation Advisory Committee.
Colbert-Brumbaugh said United Way strives to make it easier for residents to give this year.
This month, they can do so while supporting local restaurants.
From Oct. 20 to Nov. 1, 11 area restaurants are pledging a portion of their sales on a scheduled day to the campaign.
On Oct. 20, the first restaurant, Zinc Brasserie, is pledging 10 percent.
Andrea Avallone, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Cesare, said the decision to contribute was part of an ongoing effort to give back.
“We try to give as much as we can to the local community, being a local restaurant and part of the community,” Avallone said. “It’s creative fundraising — people are not being charged extra, and they’re able to select the restaurant they enjoy and give back at the same time.”
For more information on how to give, visit uwerieco.org or call 419-625-4672.
Want to help? Eat at any of the following restaurants on the specified dates.
Oct. 20 — Zinc Brasserie
Oct. 21 — Pizza House East
Oct. 22 — Eats and Treats
Oct. 23 — Max & Erma’s
Oct. 24 — Perkins Pancake House
Oct. 27 — Berardi’s Sandusky
Oct. 28 — Lee’s Famous Chicken
Oct. 31 — Shifters Bar & Grill
Nov. 1 — Lunch Box
Nov. 1 (evening) — Cold Creek Cafe in Castalia