United Way is committed to being a champion of change

Fall has officially hit Illinois. It’s time to enjoy the holiday season with the high schoolers, pumpkin patch with the toddlers, and maybe a pumpkin spice latte or two. It’s also Dine UNITED time. Throughout October, United Way partnered with local restaurants to celebrate 100 years of United Way in central Illinois. Every Wednesday in October, local restaurants participate and donate a portion of the proceeds to Centraide. We would like to thank the restaurants that have already participated this month: Anvil & Forge Brewing and Distilling, Engrained Brewery & Restaurant, Ginna’s Café/Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory, Loukinens’ on 4th, Mariah’s Steakhouse & Pasta, Pease’s Candy Shop & Bunn Gourmet , Pittman’s Popcorn Shop, Motorheads, Boone’s, Café Moxo, Joseph’s Fine Cuisine and Brunchfield Café. Don’t worry, you haven’t missed your chance to grab a bite to eat while uplifting your community. This Wednesday you can Dine UNITED at Grab-a-Java – either downtown or west, Mariah’s Steakhouse & Pasta, Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery & Eatery or Replay Lounge. And, on Wednesday, October 26, the following locations are participating – Brunchfield Café, Mariah’s Steakhouse & Pasta and all Mel-O-Cream locations: Sixth Street, Fairhills, Laurel, North Grand Avenue and the new Wabash Avenue store. If you’re looking for a quick drive out of town, you can even visit Hand Of Fate Brewing Co. in Petersburg on Thursday, October 20. This month, you can eat local and give local while you Dine UNITED with the community.

As October ends in a few weeks and we look to the end of 2022, we want to hear from you. At 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 3, we will host our Community Conversations meeting where United Way listens to the important issues of those who live and work here in central Illinois. These conversations will revolve around four main areas: basic needs, education, financial stability and health and will guide United Way’s work to address local priorities with data-driven results. Members of our vision board will consider feedback from these conversations to ensure community priorities are funded by United Way. We invite you to make your voice heard.

Another way we invite you to join the Centraide mission is to mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday. This year, you can gift the reading to young readers in our community and donate to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. If you are unfamiliar with this program, it is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by providing free books to children from birth to 5 years old. All Giving Tuesday donations will benefit this program. If you are interested in donating directly to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library today or have young readers in your own life, call our office for more information. It’s a great way to encourage a lifelong love of reading and learning.

As United Way of Central Illinois continues to celebrate 100 years of fighting poverty in our community, 100 years of uniting community members, creating and operating programs, and providing resources to residents of the Illinois, we want to celebrate YOU: the community. Those we are honored to serve, our partners, donors, volunteers and friends. You inspire us and give us the means to keep moving forward. Since 1922, United Way has been a catalyst for change – bringing the community together to solve our toughest problems and our most pressing needs. Our mission has kept us nimble as we have adapted in recent years to the pandemic crisis and continue to meet the ongoing needs of our community. Today, we provide immediate and long-term support for basic needs, financial stability, health and education. We are committed to being a champion of change as we build a community where everyone has the opportunities and resources they need to thrive. We hope you will join us.

Marne Fauser is President and CEO of United Way of Central Illinois.

Freeda S. Scott