11/24/06 — United Way challenges community to meet goal

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United Way challenges community to meet goal

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 24, 2006 1:45 PM

Bring it on.

Bring on the pickles. Bring on the coffee. Bring on the doughnuts. Bring on the parachute.

Most importantly, bring on the money -- bring it to the United Way of Wayne County as the organization prepares to make its final surge toward its $1.44 million goal.

"We're real excited about making this campaign meet its goal," United Way Campaign Chairman Geoff Hulse said. "I think people want to donate."

Right now, the group is sitting on $860,333 -- 59 percent of its 2006 goal -- with another $576,000 to go. The organization has only five more weeks to raise the money. This time last year, the group was at 75 percent of its goal.

To encourage people to help out, the United Way has concocted a fresh campaign -- "Bring It On."

"Instead of being negative about it, we're going to step it up. This is the final push to the top," United Way director of community investment Suzie Acree said. "It's a challenge."

And with challenges come rewards.

Once donations reach the 60 percent mark -- something that organizers feel will happen any day now -- state Rep. Louis Pate will pack pickles at the Mount Olive Pickle Plant.

"I'm going to be the Pickle Packing Poppa," Pate said. "I think it'll be a real hoot to do, to help with the United Way campaign.

"And that's the purpose behind it all. Maybe a little bit of fun will catch people's attention."

But he said, he's not recommending that people buy the pickles he packs.

"I predict the pickle company will probably lose a lot of money with me on the assembly line, but I hope they'll forgive me," he said. "I was on an assembly line a long time ago when I was in school, but not at a pickle company. It should be interesting."

After Pate packs his pickles, the next goal is 70 percent.

Once that level is met, Goldsboro Mayor Al King has agreed to serve coffee at Starbucks, rather than drink it.

"It wasn't my idea," King said. "Probably they know I like coffee, and I like Starbucks. I go every chance I get, at least once a day, when I'm in town."

Of course, serving the city as mayor has helped prepare King for whatever overcaffeinated customers might throw his direction.

"Whatever it is, I can handle it," he said. "It'll be fun."

He also thinks the campaign will help increase donations.

"I think once the public understands we're not there yet, they'll help out," King said. "It's such a valuable organization and helps so many people. We all need to dig a little deeper."

Then, as contributions continue to roll in, Sheriff Cary Winders will be rolling in the dough at Krispy Kreme where he has agreed to serve doughnuts once the 80 percent mark is reached.

"I guess it's just the whole cops and doughnuts thing," he said. "I like Krispy Kreme, and I like doughnuts. I try to stay away from them, but I'll probably eat a couple while I'm in there."

And, he said, while it won't be the first time he's helped a local organization, it will be his first time serving doughnuts.

"At least it's not a dunking booth or a womanless beauty pageant," Winders said. "It seems pretty safe to me. It's kind of hard to mess up doughnuts. Either you want them glazed, not glazed or assorted. I'd rather serve doughnuts than most anything else.

"I hope the United Way does reach their goal. I think they've got a good chance at meeting it. They support a lot of good programs, especially for our children."

The next goal of course, is 90 percent.

What happens then is still a mystery, but Mrs. Acree promises it will be something exciting.

"It'll be good," she said.

But it's not likely to top Hulse jumping out of an airplane at 14,000 feet once the United Way hits its 100 percent mark.

"I basically volunteered," Hulse, a local lawyer said. "I've sort of always wanted to do it and I've never done it."

Then, once they realized the United Way was going to need some help meeting its goal, it seemed like it would be a great incentive for the community.

He will be jumping in tandem with an instructor with a company in Louisburg.

"A lot of people would probably want to see me jump out without a parachute, but it's like a leap of faith for United Way," he said. "I'm willing to make a leap of faith for the community to help this organization. The United Way is the organization that patches the holes in the fabric of our community.

"The idea is, if we make our goal and we're going to make this goal, I'll be jumping on Jan. 6. I've already got a reservation for 10 a.m. Saturday morning."

United Way donations can be dropped off at the United Way office on William Street or at one of several locations in Wayne County -- The Goldsboro News-Argus, the Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce or the RBC Centura Bank on Spence Avenue.

They can also be mailed to the United Way office, 308 N. William St., Goldsboro, N.C. 27530.