The Franklin County Area United Way is gearing up for its annual door-to-door drive in the Washington area.

The community canvass is one of several special events planned during the drive which kicked off this week and runs through Oct. 31.

Students from both local high schools will try to knock on thousands of doors Wednesday, Sept. 25, seeking donations for the United Way. The canvass will begin after school and continue into the early evening.

Washington High School students will get started at about 2:15 p.m. and continue until 5:30 p.m. and St. Francis Borgia Regional High School students will canvass from 2:30 to 6 p.m.

United Way Executive Director Kim Strubberg said students will canvass about 40 different territories within the city limits and several subdivisions just outside Washington.

“The community canvass helps raise much needed funds and awareness of the United Way campaign, as well as promotes volunteerism among local teens,” she said.

Need Drivers

Strubberg said adult volunteers are needed to drive groups of students from their high school to their assigned neighborhoods and then back to school.

Students and volunteers will be treated to refreshments after the canvass at Rennick Riverfront Park.

“The best part is we will all come together for hot dogs and snacks at the riverfront,” Strubberg said. “It’s always a fun event for everyone involved.”

The door-to-door drive is a long-standing tradition of the United Way, formerly known as the United Fund and prior to that, the Community Chest. The canvass dates back to the late 1950s when the fire whistle was used to signal the start of the drive.

Anyone interested in driving is asked to call the United Way office, 636-239-1018.

Strubberg said the purpose of the drive is the same today as it was then: to reach those residents who may not have the opportunity to participate in a campaign through their workplace.

Residents will receive a United Way brochure listing the 48 agencies and programs supported through the drive. A clear hanging bag with a return envelope and brochure will be left if no one is home.

The students will be wearing neon green United Way T-shirts and name tags and all of the drivers will have placards posted in their front windshields designating them as drivers.

United Way officials encourage residents who are not home during the drive to consider making a donation. Contributions can be mailed to: Franklin County Area United Way, P.O. Box 3, Washington, MO 63090.

Strubberg said a donation to the United Way is an investment in the community.

This year’s goal is $1,000,060 to celebrate the United Way’s 60th anniversary and due to increased needs.

Last year’s door-to-door drive brought in $10,309, which included the mail-in donations.

“We were down last year, so we would love to hit $15,000 this year,” Strubberg said.

Other Events

Other special events planned during the campaign include selling hot dogs at the Downtown Washington Inc. Chili Cook-Off Friday, Sept. 27; participating in the New Haven parade Saturday, Sept. 28; Building Better Communities Month in October; the United Way Golf Tournament, Friday, Oct. 4; Union Power of the Purse, Thursday, Oct. 10; and coin collections Oct. 25-26.

The United Way also sponsored several events earlier in the year, such as Power of the Purse events in Pacific, Washington, St. Clair and New Haven; PBJ Month in April; an Ultimate Guys Night Out; a bowling event; parades; and a piano jam this summer.