News Correspondent

On Monday afternoon, United Way executive director, Vicki Smith, invited Van Wert County residents to “chip in” for the upcoming year’s fundraising campaign.

Smith said that this year’s goal, “$505,000,” will be guided by the theme, “Change for a Change.” This past year, the agency raised a record, “515,000” in campaign funding.

This year’s annual kick-off will take place on Sept. 13 at Hickory Hills Golf Club in Van Wert. The unique thing about this golf outing, “Chip for Change Unscramble,” is that no clubs are needed. All holes are greens; only the putting is not what is considered traditional putting.

The event will begin with a shotgun start at 2 p.m. and conclude with a dinner afterwards provided by the Wild Hare Barbecue.

“At each hole, United Way agencies will have created themes and special ways to put the ball in the cup,” said Smith. “Each agency picks out its own theme. The idea is to be creative for that hole.”

Smith said that some of the theme titles include bingo, gator golf, “orange you glad you have the United Way,” and Elm Street.

“Each green will have two four-person teams “putting” at the same time,” said Smith. “The cost of entering the event is $100 per team. The entire unscramble is limited to 36 times.

“Any money we raise from this goes toward this year’s campaign,” observed Smith.

One of the primary ways of building the United Way funding has been industrial campaigns.

“The United Way of Van Wert County is very grateful for the participants in our industrial campaigns,” said Smith. “These are held in local manufacturing companies, businesses, insurance companies, schools, dealerships, banks and more. Our annual campaign would look much different without their enthusiasm, project leadership and commitment to help events come to fruition.”

Many employees give through making payroll deductions. Workers are encouraged to complete a pledge card with employers to designate a percentage of income to United Way. In many cases, said Smith, employers will match their employees’ donations.

The local United Way also sponsors annual events such as Day of Caring, Chip for Change, Rivals United, Fiesta Fun Friday and Eaton Bag Bingo.

“United Way giving can also take place through PayPal,” said Smith. “Access the link on the United Way of Van Wert County website. In making an Amazon purchase, be sure to designate a percentage of your purchase to UW through Amazon Smile.”