08/02/07 — Taste of Wayne to kick off United Way campaign August 14

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Taste of Wayne to kick off United Way campaign August 14

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on August 2, 2007 1:45 PM

At the Taste of Wayne County, food is a big part of what brings people out, but the desire to help improve lives is the meaning behind the food and festivities.

That is why United Way volunteers are asking residents to dig deeper this year as they kick off the organization's 2007 campaign Aug. 14.

"We want to tell people to increase the lives they improve," said Steve Parr, executive director.

United Way campaign chairman Jimmie Ford said residents will not have far to look to see what their dollars accomplish in providing services for needy families and individuals across the community.

A beneficiary of United Way's fundraising efforts might be right next door or in their own family.

And each year, Ford said, the community has stepped up to help those who are in need.

"(The campaign) has worked, and it is working even more now," he said. "People seem to be excited about this."

Getting work done requires a lot of hands -- and funding, he added.

"It takes dollars," Ford said. "We need people to help us financially."

And he and other United Way volunteers will bring that message to residents through the Portraits of Promise campaign, which showcases not only those who benefit from the United Way's partner agencies, but investors who help make those services happen.

And even small donations can change lives, Ford said.

"A boy who got $50 for his birthday can give that to United Way and make someone who was homeless not homeless anymore," he said. "Those are the kinds of things the public needs to hear."

This year's goal is $1.46 million -- enough money to improve more than 29,000 lives.

As a way to encourage people to give their fair share, a 2007 Jeep Compass donated by Goldsboro Chrysler Dodge Jeep will be given away this year. Anyone who gives their fair share -- the value of an hour of pay per month for 12 months -- earns a chance to win the vehicle. Names will be drawn and the finalists will each receive a key. The lucky key wins the car.

"People need to give their fair share because the vehicle is going to be raffled off, and if their name isn't in the raffle, they don't have a chance to win it," Ford said.

Meanwhile, efforts continue to prepare for the Taste of Wayne County on Aug. 14, from 5-7:30 p.m. at Wayne Community College.

And while there is a message behind the event, there will still be plenty of fun to be had, volunteers said.

"My favorite thing is people getting together for a good cause," said Sally Worrell, vice president of marketing and communications for the United Way and owner of Wayco Ham Company.

Don Magoon, member of the Taste committee, said the event features a restaurant atmosphere at a bargain price.

"You get all the food you want for $12. That's a deal.

"It has been our signature event as the kick-off for the annual United Way campaign," Magoon said.

Magoon has been a member of the Taste committee for a few years now and is usually in charge of judging the food.

"It's a great job," he said. "(The judges) are not food critics or anything. We basically look at the presentation of the food and how it tastes. There is nothing wrong with a little friendly competition for a good cause."

This year's judging categories include international fare, comfort food, pub grub and appetizers, special occasion dinner, seafood, pizza, breads and pastries, healthy foods, hot drinks, breakfast, fast food, desserts and cold drinks. The event will include tents for food vendors, games and a stage and dance area.

Thomas Vick will be this year's disc jockey, and Lee Wright from the United Way will be the emcee.

Tickets must be purchased in advance and are $12. Children under the age of 6 are admitted free. Tickets can be bought at Wayne County Chamber of Commerce, Mount Olive Chamber of Commerce and Johnson Air Force Base Outdoor Recreation Center until 5 p.m., Monday, Aug. 13. No tickets will be sold the day of the event.