11/30/06 — Pate will be packing pickles

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Pate will be packing pickles

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 30, 2006 1:46 PM

The United Way of Wayne County said "bring it on" and now state Rep. Louis Pate is preparing to pack plenty of pickles at the Mt. Olive Pickle plant on Friday.

"We look forward to having Rep. Pate packing pickles here at the pickle plant," Mt. Olive Pickle Co. spokeswoman Lynn Williams said. "We'll see if he relishes politics or pickle packing."

Pate earned his spot on the Mt. Olive machine line after the United Way reached 60 percent of its $1.44 million 2006 funding goal. To date, the group has raised $955,388 -- 65 percent of the goal.

"A lot of people think of politicians in pork barrels, now maybe they'll think of them in pickle jars," United Way campaign chairman Geoff Hulse said. "We weren't at 60 percent when we started this and now we're past it, and we're excited about that.

"The community's really coming together and we feel like in this season of giving the citizens of Wayne County will jump on board with us. The next step will be when we reach 70 percent, and I'm confident we will shortly."

But right now, Pate's attention is squarely on Friday.

Scheduled to hit the floor at about 5:30 p.m., Pate will be working as a topper -- making sure the jars are full and that the pickles are down inside them so the caps can be put on. The pickles he packs will be sold.

"Somebody, somewhere will eat them," Ms. Williams said.

But Pate isn't nervous about the prospect of having his pickles passed out across the country.

"I've been thinking about this, and I've been doing some exercises," Pate said. "I've been getting myself ready for this. This is going to be a huge opportunity for me. I'm looking forward to it. It should be a lot of fun and anything we can do to help the United Way campaign is worth it."

His packing of the pickles is the first reward in a five-level challenge thrown out by the United Way last week.

The campaign, "Bring It On," is in an effort to help increase donations in the last five weeks of its fundraising drive. Right now the United Way is running behind its 2005 pace.

The other rewards will involve Goldsboro Mayor Al King serving coffee at Starbucks when the campaign reaches 70 percent, Wayne County Sheriff Cary Winders serving doughnuts at Krispy Kreme at 80 percent, a mystery celebrity at 90 percent and United Way campaign chairman Geoff Hulse skydiving from 14,000 feet at 100 percent.

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.