By SARAH BRADBURY
Caterpillar held a Pulaski County United Way partner agency fair for their employees. The campaign team members are Monica Patterson, John Maxwell, Jeff Rector, Javier Mattos, Susan Ratcliffe, Doris Coleman and Debbie Van Epp.
“Our campaign started Aug. 19 and runs for four weeks. In these four weeks we try to get as many people as we can to sign up and help with United Way,” said Patterson, on behalf of the committee.
According to Susan Dalrymple, executive director of Pulaski County United Way, Caterpillar is one of the few corporations that will match donations by 100 percent.
Partner agencies attending the event were Pulaski County United Way, Senior Services, Med-Ride, Dublin Fire Department, Intellectual Disabilities Agency, Beans and Rice, YMCA, American Red Cross, Literacy Volunteers of the NRV, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boy Scouts, Pulaski County Humane Society, Free Clinic of Pulaski County, Women’s Resource Center and NRV Cares.
“The biggest thing for us is education because we feel like people don’t really understand what United Way does, so we wanted to have a fair, kind of a United Way agency fair, to have them in to talk to employees about what they do,” said Patterson. She said the corporation had an ice cream social. Caterpillar provided the ice cream and the agencies had the toppings. Therefore, if people wanted toppings they had to approach the agencies, which helped employees to start conversations with them.
There were door prizes and many donations made by local businesses. “The first 15 got a free appetizer from Texas Roadhouse,” said Patterson.
Committee member Ratcliffe said donations were made for door prizes. These included gift certificates from Cracker Barrel, Fatz, Outback Steakhouse, and tools from Lowe’s. Draper Valley Golf Club donated two foursomes, according to committee member Coleman.
Other donations included those made by Food City, Thompson Tire, Duncan Suzuki, The Wohlfahrt House, Barter Theater, Walmart, and Seagle’s Auto Repair, among others.
“Most (people) are willing to donate when you tell them it goes back into their county,” said Ratcliffe, when asked what kind of reception the committee had received. “Small businesses are more hesitant to donate, which makes sense with the economy.”
“We had the same committee last year, and we tripled the amount of employees who donated,” said Patterson. “I think we will do even better this year.” Caterpillar also pays all administrative fees, so all funds employees donate go directly to the United Way agencies and Caterpillar matches it “dollar for dollar.”
United Way stresses that all money donated stays in Pulaski County and contributions are tax deductible. Contributions support residents from Fairlawn to Hiwassee.
Pulaski County United Way has been serving the county for 54 years and there are 23 partner agencies.
Anyone wishing to donate to Pulaski County United Way can call Susan Dalrymple at 980-2537. Their office is located at 246 N. Washington Avenue, Pulaski.