More than 250 high school students, wearing bright teal T-shirts and carrying brochures, canvassed the Washington community Wednesday afternoon, collecting donations for the Franklin County Area United Way campaign.
The teens collected $6,665.31 in the annual door-to-door drive, up $1,253.05 from last year.
United Way officials hope mail-in donations will boost those numbers even more.
“The door-to-door drive was a huge success,” said Kim Strubberg, United Way executive director.
“There were approximately 150 students who participated at Washington High School and 100 at St. Francis Borgia Regional High School,” she said. “We had plenty of adult drivers and all 65 routes were covered.”
Strubberg said parents of the students who volunteered should be very proud.
“The students were so polite,” she said. “One group of students even went back to a location a second time to tell the folks thank you.”
Strubberg said one of the drivers commented on how courteous the students were.
“It’s great to see students getting involved in their community at this age and learning firsthand what United Way is about,” she said. “It was just a wonderful day.”
Strubberg also thanked administrators at both high schools for their cooperation and the volunteer drivers.
The door-to-door drive is one of several special events planned during the annual campaign, which kicked off Sept. 1 and runs through Oct. 31.
“The community canvass helps raise much-needed funds and awareness of the United Way campaign, as well as promotes volunteerism among local teens,” said Strubberg.
The students and drivers were treated to pizza at each of the schools.
Residents received a United Way brochure listing the 53 agencies and programs supported through the drive. A clear hanging bag with a return envelope and brochure was left if no one was home.
Strubberg encourages residents who were not home to consider making a donation. Contributions can be mailed to: Franklin County Area United Way, P.O. Box 3, Washington, MO 63090.
The mail-in donations are very important, she said, often accounting for half of the total collected for the door-to-door drive.
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.
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.
Last year’s door-to-door drive, including the mail-in donations, brought in about $9,160 with mail-in donations.