By Kim Walter
Joe Shtulman was very pleasantly surprised when he learned just how much was raised during the Carmike Cinemas Charity Opening Night event in June.
The Apple Blossom 12 movie theater hosted the pre-grand opening event to benefit the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley by selling tickets, popcorn and drinks for only $2 a piece.
As it was a brand new event for the local United Way, they hoped to raise anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000. Instead, the local chapter got a check for $11,101 last week from Carmike Cinemas.
Shtulman, president of the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley, said he was "absolutely delighted."
"We figure around 2,000 people came out for the event," he said. "Maybe it was to see the new theater, and maybe it was to help out their local United Way. Either way, we are so very grateful."
The proceeds will go directly toward day care programs for needy children and parenting education opportunities for families in the area, according to Shtulman.
"This is really going to make a difference," he added.
With such a sizable donation made to the chapter, Shtulman is now looking forward to the start of the 2013-2014 campaign. The Day of Caring, set for Wednesday, Sept. 11, will serve as that kick-off event.
The event brings volunteers together for one day to help organizations and individuals with projects in Winchester, and Clarke, Frederick and Shenandoah counties.
This year's campaign is already off to a good start -- according to Shtulman, just under 800 volunteers will participate in the Day of Caring, setting a new record.
"We'll have all those folks working on about 150 projects," he said. "Look for us in your communities ... we'll be in the bright green shirts."
The day will start with an opening ceremony at 8 a.m. at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema in Winchester.
Shtulman pointed out that the overall increase in the number of volunteers was likely due to the amount of student participants. He said students always come out for the event, but this year about 150 of the Day of Caring Volunteers are coming with Frederick County and Winchester high schools.
Dr. David Sovine, superintendent of Frederick County Public Schools, is the 2013 campaign chair, and Shtulman said he has a feeling he had some influence on the youth volunteers.
"I'm sure he was really promoting that they participate," he said. "Our schools are really big on community service."
Shenandoah University also has about 40 students participating.
Overall, Shtulman is looking forward to a great year, especially if the current momentum continues.
"The United Way is always appreciative of the generosity and caring that our community shows," he said.
For more information about the United Way of Northern Shenandoah Valley, go to www.unitedwaynsv.org or call 540-536-1610.
Contact staff writer Kim Walter at 540-465-5137 ext. 191, or email@example.com