Employees' cook-off, auction, bake sale raises $3,500 for United Way
By Candace Sipos -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- With bowls of chili, cakes and baskets of various prizes, Frederick County employees contributed about $3,500 Friday toward the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley's $1.2 million campaign.
According to Paula Nofsinger, director of human resources, about 45 county workers showed up for the chili cook-off and about 54 items in the silent auction, including assortments catered to bakers, dog lovers and spa-goers.
But that's only the first of three similar events in the county.
Next week, additional fundraisers will be held at the Public Safety Building and at the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center.
Joe Shtulman, president of the local United Way, said the charity needs all the help it can get right now.
"The need is greater this year than ever before," Shtulman said. "We really need the help of the community."
County officials tried to help meet that need in a new way this year. Previously, the county has only offered a payroll deduction option for donations to the organization, but Kris Tierney, assistant county administer, decided to try a new way to boost participation.
Tierney said the payroll deduction showed "limited" support from county workers, but the fundraiser was "pretty popular" and he hopes it will continue next year.
"We try to make it more of a fun activity for the employees in hopes of maybe increasing awareness and involvement," he said.
Shtulman said he encourages companies to do both fundraisers and payroll deduction, noting the latter usually is more effective.
The $1.2 million campaign kicked off Sept. 14 and was supposed to end with the last days of December, but so far only 68 percent of the goal, almost $821,000, has been reached.
The public service division of the campaign involves local nonprofit agencies and government bodies from Shenandoah, Clarke and Frederick counties and the City of Winchester. That section, which benefited from Friday's fundraiser, has raised almost half of its goal with little more than $15,000, Shtulman said.
"We're trying to wrap up as many of the campaigns as we can by the end of the year," he said, requesting that any local groups involved in the campaign try to turn in their results soon. "We do have a number of campaigns that have started but aren't finished yet."
Winchester's administration was a pace-setter for the campaign by kicking off early, in August, and reporting the results earl, he said.
The United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley also administers a federal campaign to give federal employees a chance to donate. So far, that campaign has raised almost $171,000. Seventeen percent of that fund will go toward the United Way and its partner agencies, while the rest will be designated by the donors for other groups, Shtulman said.