SJ-R Column: October 16, 2022

As originally published in the State Journal Register.

Marne Fauser, UWCIL President & CEO

Autumn has officially hit Illinois. It’s time to enjoy Homecoming celebrations with high school children, pumpkin patches with little ones, and maybe a pumpkin spice latte or two. It’s also time to Dine UNITED. Throughout the month of October, United Way has partnered with local restaurants to celebrate 100 years of United Way in Central Illinois. Each Wednesday in October local restaurants participate and donate a portion of proceeds back to the United Way. We would like to thank those restaurants who have already participated this month: Anvil & Forge Brewing and Distilling, Engrained Brewery & Restaurant, Ginna’s Café/Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory, Loukinen’s 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 opportunity to grab a bite to eat while lifting up your community. This Wednesday, October 19th, you can Dine UNITED at Grab-a-Java either the Downtown or the West location, Mariah’s Steakhouse & Pasta, Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery & Eatery, or Replay Lounge. And, on Wednesday, October 26th, the following locations are participating – Brunchfield Café, Mariah’s Steakhouse & Pasta, and all the Mel-O-Cream locations: 6th Street, Fairhills, Laurel, North Grand, and their new West Wabash store. If you’re looking for a quick drive out of town, you can even visit Hand Of Fate Brewing Company in Petersburg on Thursday, October 20th. This October you can eat local and give local as you Dine UNITED with the community.
As October wraps up in a few weeks, and we look toward to the end of 2022, we want to hear from you. On Thursday, November 3rd at 2:30pm we will be hosting 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 center around four main issue areas: Basic Needs, Education, Financial Stability, and Health and will guide United Way’s work to address local priorities with data driven outcomes. Our Vision Council members will take the feedback from these conversations to ensure community priorities are funded by the United Way. We invite you to have your voice be heard.
Another way that we invite you to join in the United Way’s mission is to mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday. This year you can give the gift of reading to young readers in our community and donate to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. If you’re not familiar with this program, it is dedicated to inspiring a love of reading by gifting books free of charge to children from birth to age five. All donations from Giving Tuesday 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 its celebration of 100 years of fighting poverty in our community, 100 years of uniting community members, building and operating programs, and providing resources to Central Illinois residents, we want to celebrate YOU: the community. Those we have the honor to serve, our partners, donors, volunteers, and friends. You inspire and empower us to continue forward. Since 1922, United Way has been a change catalyst – bringing the community together to address our toughest issues and most urgent needs. Our mission has kept us nimble as we have adapted in recent years to the pandemic crisis and continue to address 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 for 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 serves as President and CEO of the United Way of Central Illinois. Visit www.springfieldunitedway.org to learn more. For more updates follow United Way of Central Illinois on social media: Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.