Dairy Barn United Way weekend

Shown here are Dairy Barn employees giving United Way of McMinn and Meigs Counties officials treats during last year’s “Dairy Barn Days.” A portion of the Dairy Barn’s sales this weekend will once again be donated to United Way of McMinn and Meigs Counties.

We all scream for ice-cream — and with Dairy Barn donating a portion of their sales this Friday and Saturday to United Way of McMinn and Meigs Counties — we can all scream a little louder.

This weekend is the second to last weekend the Dairy Barn will be open for the year and is the third consecutive year the locally owned ice cream and food spot is participating in “Dairy Barn Days,” in which they donate some of their sales to support United Way of McMinn and Meigs Counties.

Executive Director for United Way of McMinn and Meigs Counties Stephanie Linkous commented on this special fundraiser, which will take place on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22.

“It’s very exciting. This is the third year they have done this and it’s been very successful. This is one of the last chances folks can get good things from the Dairy Barn. They have some special pumpkin spice flavored desserts right now,” said Linkous. “When businesses do these type of things, the community can get involved and help United Way, but they also get something great in return, you know a meal or ice cream, or whatever they get at the Dairy Barn. It’s an easy way to help United Way.”

For 35 years, the Dairy Barn has been a sweet spot for Athenians. Dwight and Donna Hixson — the owners of the Dairy Barn — see supporting United Way through “Dairy Barn Days” as a small token of appreciation to help those in need of its community services and support.

“We have lived in Athens all of our adult lives. Dairy Barn has so many memories — many people have grown up at the Dairy Barn,” said Donna Hixson. “I can’t think of a better way to give back to the community than United Way. They give back in so many ways. I’ve seen first hand the wonderful things they’ve done.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” she explained, “to help the people you love. We wanted to help give a little bit and be a part of it. We hope people come see us this weekend and support United Way.”

United Way of McMinn and Meigs Counties supports a variety of 501(c)(3) nonprofit partner agencies within the community.

The 2018-2019 United Way campaign will benefit the following partner agencies: Athens-McMinn family YMCA, Boys and Girls Club of Meigs County, Boy Scouts of America-Great Smokey Mountain Council, CASA Corridor of East Tennessee, Coordinated Charities, Etowah Area Senior Citizens Center, Etowah Rescue Squad, Full Circle Medical Center for Women, Good Faith Clinic, Grace and Mercy Ministries, Helping Hands Ministry, Hiwassee Mental Health, The H.O.P.E. Center, McMinn County Educational & Community Foundation, McMinn County Rescue Squad, McMinn County Senior Center, and Tri-County Center.

This year’s campaign goal is to raise $710,000 to fund these various partner agencies and the current campaign — which had its “kick off” on Aug. 16 — has already raised $224,742 towards that goal.

“We raised over $700,000 last year, and it was just thousands of people coming together to make it happen,” said Linkous.

According to Linkous, United Way of McMinn and Meigs Counties has made 33 presentations to various schools and industries this season to talk about their missions and how to give to United Way.

“We would love to have the campaign wrapped up by the end of the year, but we usually end up going into the first of the year,” Linkous said. “We still have a lot of companies to talk to, so we’re really just getting started.”

Linkous spoke about some of the leaders in this year’s campaign thus far.

“Athens Utilities Board — they have done an amazing job. Their employees have increased their giving by over $4,000,” she said. “They’ve always been a campaign leader, they participate in our Day of Caring, we’ve had agency (representatives) speak to them, so I think they’re just really aware of what the needs are in our community, and what to participate. They have great leadership that believes in United Way.”

Linkous noted that Athens City Schools also had an increase in their campaign this year.

United Way, as an organization, is unique, because although it has a presence in more than 1,800 communities in more than 40 countries, it focuses on community-based solutions. The individual United Way agencies, such as United Way of McMinn and Meigs Counties, focus on the needs in their particular community.

“These donations are are helping us solve problems in our community, and help the neediest among us. There are United Ways all over. Every community has its own United Way and we know what the needs are here — they’re different in Knoxville, Atlanta, or Chattanooga, and we put those donations to work solving the problems that are real in our community,” said Linkous.

There are a number of ways to individuals and businesses to contribute to United Way, Linkous explained.

“No office is too small to have a United Way campaign. We’ll come out, speak, and talk to employees and give them the opportunity to donate. Payroll deduction is so easy, they can give a few dollars out of each paycheck and it’s not a hardship to give,” she said.

As Linkous noted, businesses can set up payroll deductions for employees who want to give, however individuals can also give by sending a text message. To donate via text, send LIVEUNITED2018 to 4144. Afterwards, a response will come back to you with a link to set up your safe and secure text message donation.

For more ways to donate to or learn more about United Way of McMinn and Meigs Counties, contact United Way at (423)745-9606; visit their office in Athens at 313 Maple Street; or email uwaymc@bellsouth.net.

Visit their website online at www.uwmcminn-meigs.com or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to stay updated on this year’s campaign and special events.

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