Hundreds of high school students wearing bright yellow T-shirts will canvass the community later this month as part of annual door-to-door drive for the Franklin County Area United Way.

The drive will take place Wednesday, Sept. 26, after school and continue until about 5:30 p.m.

Students from Washington High School and St. Francis Borgia Regional High School will participate, according to Kim Strubberg, United Way executive director.

Adult volunteers also are needed to drive the students, who will attempt to canvass about 70 different territories within the city limits and several subdivisions just outside of Washington.

The community canvass is a long-standing tradition of the United Way, formerly known as the United Fund and prior to that, the Community Chest.

Strubberg said the canvass dates back to the late 1950s when the fire whistle was used to signal the start of the drive.

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 United Way campaign through their workplace.

“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. “We have been doing the door-to-door drive for 65 years, it’s one of our most popular events, and we appreciate the citizens of Washington for their participation and continued support.”

Students will try and knock on as many doors as possible. Residents will receive a United Way brochure listing the 53 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.

All of the drivers will have placards posted in their front windshields designating them as drivers. The students will wear United Way T-shirts and name tags.

Strubberg encourages 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.

Last year’s drive brought in $9,180, including mail-in donations.

Strubberg said the mail-in donations are very important, often accounting for half of the total collected for the door-to-door drive.

Students and drivers will be treated to pizza after the drive.