The United Way of Sampson County is well on its way to reaching this year’s fundraising goal, with this year’s Dine Out event proving to be a huge success.
“We’ve currently raised 90 percent of our $175,000 goal,” said Nancy Carr, executive director for the United Way. “Everyone has been so generous and we are very thankful for the community, the businesses, individuals, everyone who has made this possible. All of our employee campaigns were very successful this year and we’re just appreciative.”
The fundraising campaign will officially end on Dec. 31. That will be followed at the beginning of 2018 by the annual multi-step application and presentation process through which beneficiaries for those funds will be selected.
Last year, United Way met its goal, but prior to two years ago, the group struggled for years to reach its fundraising benchmark amid tough economic times.
Now in it’s 26th year, the United Way of Sampson County has raised more than $3.5 million dollars that has in turn been distributed among more than 22 different local agencies.
This year’s success can be partly attributed to a successful Dine Out event, held at the beginning of December, that raised money earmarked for United Way. Six restaurants participated by donating a portion of their proceeds from lunch and dinner sales to benefit the local organization that, in turn, benefits a dozen or more local service organizations each year.
“Despite the weather, the event was a tremendous success,” Carr said. “The restaurants enjoyed a bustling day of business and helped their community at the same time by donating to United Way’s 2017 campaign.”
Planned to now be an annual event, the United Way event featured local partners Zeng’s Chinese Palace, Alfredo’s Ristorante Italiano, Mi Finca, Ribeyes Steakhouse and Southern Smoke and Uncle Vinny’s as supporting restaurants.
“This event has really grown over the last couple of years,” said Carr. “We just encourage the community to come out and visit one of these restaurants and dine either for lunch and/or dinner that day. It certainly is for a good cause.”
According to Carr, this event usually brings $1,000 that goes towards the organization’s general campaign fund. Already at 90 percent of their goal, the United Way of Sampson County has set a goal for $175,000 this year.
This year’s partner agencies are CAFE, Sampson County Department of Aging, Boy Scouts of America Tuscarora Council, Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, Girl Scouts-North Carolina Coastal Plains, Sampson County Child Advocacy Center, Sampson County 4-H, Sampson County Fireman’s Association, Sampson County Friends of Education and Special Olympics Sampson County. For many of these agencies, the money received through United Way is the only source of funding for the organization.
According to Carr, 97 percent of what is raised each year is dispersed among the 11 partner agencies supported through United Way. While more money might leave local communities under other UW chapters, that is not the case with Sampson’s. Carr attested that out of all money raised, a mere 3 percent is used for the group’s license, print materials, office space and miscellaneous expenses.
The rest goes right back into the community.
For many of these agencies, United Way’s funding is the only source for their organization, which must be a non-profit. While it is a small part, “Dine Out” is just another way the United Way reaches out to the community and makes its presence known.
“This money helps the whole community,” Carr said. “All the money gets United Way closer to its goal.”
Taking part in the “Dine Out” event is just one of the many ways the community helps raise money that is then turned around and dispersed among Sampson County agencies.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.