11/25/07 — United Way brings in 'special help' for final push

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United Way brings in 'special help' for final push

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on November 25, 2007 2:01 AM

The Grinch, raising money for United Way, said Merry Christmas to those coming his way.

Some cried and some didn't, that's just how it goes, but it was only Geoff Hulse, with green fingers and nose.

And who else was that there, swallowing his pride, with pointy ears and a stocking by his side?

He looked like an elf, but no, it couldn't be. For doesn't John Kerr stand more than three-foot-three?

Still the pair did their best, in front of Santa's Toy Chest, knowing their bounty would help the people of Wayne County.

"The Grinch, you know, is reformed," Hulse said, as his small heart grew three sizes. "And what better way to do some good than to help the United Way meet its goal."

But given his -- the Grinch's -- reputation, he knew that he wouldn't be able to do it alone.

"I asked Santa for an elf to help, and he sent me the biggest one," Hulse said, nodding toward the tall senator.

Luckily, he was also an effective one as the pair managed to raise about $160 in just under an hour inside the Berkeley Mall Friday afternoon.

"People were very generous," Kerr said. "Especially considering there are so many needs to be attended to. But it's a good time of year to be out helping people."

The goal for the United Way this year is $1.46 million -- enough to help improve 29,200 lives next year.

Currently, the group is about 70 percent of the way there, but the fundraising campaign is scheduled to end on Dec. 6.

Friday's event was part of its final "Bring It On" push.

"It's a little early (to tell), but I certainly hope we make it," said campaign chairman Jimmie Ford. "We're going to be making a lot of contacts between now and Dec. 6, really trying to get people to bring it on."

And Friday's efforts were a good step in that direction.

"It's the Christmas spirit," said 15-year-old Leah Falkowski of Kinston as she dropped her spare change in Kerr's oversized sock. "It's just what you do during Christmas. I know it's a good cause."

The next "Bring It On" event is scheduled for Nov. 30 at 5:30 p.m. when the Greater Wayne County Golf Classic -- "Politicians Putt'in People First" -- will be held at the All Stars Miniature Golf Course, at the corner of Berkeley Boulevard and Cashwell Drive.

Helping to round out the fundraising campaign is a challenge from the N.C. Community Federal Credit Union-sponsored softball team against a United Way team. The United Way team will be coached by Jerry Narron and George Whitfield. The game will be played on Nov. 29 at 5:30 p.m. at the Boys and Girls Club on Royall Avenue.

Then, two days later, Mount Olive College is challenging any group to a round of Frisbee golf at the college on Dec. 1 at 2 p.m.

The Tuscarora Council of the Boy Scouts will also conduct a Dutch Oven Cook-off at Old Waynesborough Park, with the date still to be announced.

But, the last event, the grand finale, the checkered flag, will be on Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at Goldsboro Chrysler Dodge Jeep when the fair share car giveaway is held.