Working up an appetite for Friday United Way kickoff

Two events on the same day will kickoff the 2016 Bartholomew County United Way Community Campaign this week.

As part of the national Day of Service, about 1,000 volunteers will be dispatched to various locations Friday to assist individuals and nonprofit agencies, United Way officials said.

For those unable to give their time and talents, the second event will be the United Way Campaign Kickoff Lunch, which normally attracts about 200 supporters. Open to the public, the luncheon will take place at Amazing Joe’s restaurant, 2607 Central Ave., from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, with all proceeds going to the United Way of Bartholomew County.

The nonprofit umbrella agency traditionally works with Eastside Community Center, Lincoln-Central Neighborhood Family Center and the Columbus Housing Authority to find locations around the county in need of attention.

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Many of the home-improvement, cleanup and landscaping projects will take place in southeast business and residential neighborhoods, said Kyle Hendricks, United Way of Bartholomew County marketing and communications coordinator.

The four-hour assignments within the work window of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., represented by either teams or individuals, also will target the Tannehill Mobile Home Park near Taylorsville, as well as the Lincoln-Central neighborhoods, Hendricks said.

New among the corporate groups participating in the Day of Service projects are employees of Walmart and Target in Columbus, joining long-established partners such as Cummins Inc. and Faurecia, Hendricks said.

Figures show 4,846 individuals and families in Bartholomew County received assistance through the United Way last year, according to the agency’s website.

Hendricks also identified three student-based projects that are on Friday’s schedule:

IUPUC will work to spruce up the Just Friends Adult Day Services at Mill Race Center.

Southside Elementary sixth-graders will clean up the People Trails along Jonathan Moore Pike.

Fodrea CSA fourth-graders will clean up their school playground.

“These projects show a younger generation stepping up and contributing to our community, so that’s exciting for us to see,” Hendricks said.

Last year, 6,643 children in the Columbus area were supported inside and outside of the classroom by the United Way, agency figures state.

Figures that illustrate the impact of the United Way of Bartholomew County have proven to be better fundraising motivators than just setting a campaign goal, Hendricks said.

For example, records show that through the 22 certified nonprofit agencies supported by the United Way, 4,319 children, adults and seniors in Bartholomew County were able to improve their social, emotional and physical health last year.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the people,” Hendricks said.

Although the charity luncheon at Amazing Joe’s originally began as a breakfast five years ago, it was later changed to a lunch.

Not only is Amazing Joe’s general manager, Nick Grams, donating all proceeds to the United Way, but he has also added an extra incentive to attract a lunch crowd Friday.

Each ticket holder can receive an entry into a drawing for a year’s worth of Amazing Joe’s food, a $600 value.

Starbucks will provide coffee during the luncheon, while Mancino’s will supply cookies for dessert, Hendricks said.

Since the annual fundraising campaign will continue through the end of the year, up to five other Columbus-area restaurants are expected to provide incentives to contribute to the United Way later this fall, Hendricks said.

The slogan for this year’s United Way of Bartholomew County campaign is “Building a better community. Moving forward together.”

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What: Kickoff luncheon to launch the 2016 Bartholomew County United Way Community Campaign.

Details: Both restaurant and United Way staff will be serving a plated lunch (vegetarian and meat options are available) with coffee donated from Starbucks and cookies donated from Mancino’s Pizza and Grinders. All profits will benefit the United Way of Bartholomew County.

When: Friday, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Amazing Joe’s, 2607 Central Ave.

Tickets: On sale now for $10 at Amazing Joe’s, United Way of Bartholomew County, and MainSource Bank locations in Columbus. Tickets will be $12 at the door.

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Although the 2016 Bartholomew County United Way Community Campaign begins Friday, a fundraising goal has not yet been announced.

The organization wants to complete campaign coordinating efforts with almost 20 corporate sponsors before a goal is announced, United Way spokesman Kyle Hendricks said.

Below are the campaign totals for the past five years:

2015 – $4.24 million

2014 – $4.2 million

2013 – $4.08 million

2012 – $4 million

2011 – $3.8 million