OLEAN — More than 75 volunteers throughout Cattaraugus and Allegany counties helped United Way raise more than $4,000 during their 25th Community Day fundraiser on Friday.
Gail Vida Smith, United Way’s special events coordinator, said the annual partnership between United Way and the Olean Times Herald saw a “very successful year” and that a decent portion of the total $4,241 raised — before expenses — was given purely as a donation, without a purchase of the paper.
“Consistently across our corners, we took in more money than papers we sold,” Smith said.
Starting at 6 a.m., volunteers posted themselves on streets everywhere from Olean, Allegany, Westons Mills, Salamanca, Ellicottville and Franklinville in Cattaraugus County, as well as Belmont and Wellsville in Allegany County.
About 4,300 special papers were sold, with the highest-selling spot going to Sandy Brundage and Salamanca Mayor Michael Smith, who brought in $750.
And before a single paper was hawked, United Way saw support from pre-sale papers at Dresser-Rand and Eaton-Cooper Power Systems, which purchased papers outright to distribute to their staff.
“Our goal out there is obviously to get some funds, but it’s more about getting the word out about how we serve the community,” Smith said.
Those out in the sunshine and balmy weather included “celebrity seller” such as Smith and Olean Mayor Bill Aiello, who worked at Front and State streets by Bradner Stadium alongside representatives from the U.S. Army and 95.7 WPIG radio station.
Supporters of the fundraiser included the Times Herald, 95.7 WPIG, Community Bank, Olean Wholesale, St. Bonaventure University, EVL Cheese Company, National Grid, Pierce Steel, Cattaraugus County clerk’s office, the cities of Salamanca and Olean, the YMCA, Head Start Inc., Camp New Horizons, Homecare & Hospice, Directions In Independent Living, the Boy Scouts and Friends of Salamanca Youth.
“We have a great community, and people need to hear more about how great it is,” Smith said.
(Contact City Editor Danielle Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter, @OTHGamble)