Diners in the Brownwood area are being presented a “win-win” this Wednesday. Eat your midday meal at Underwood’s that day, and you’ll not only be a diner, you’ll also be a donor to the Brown County United Way.
From 11 a.m. until 2 p.m., Wednesday - the day of the week the cafeteria is usually closed - Underwood’s will be open and host its sixth annual United Way benefit lunch. If business is as brisk for this year’s diners’ donation day as the past five, more than $5,000 - and maybe even $6,000 - will be raised for the Brown County United Way, which opened its 2009 drive last month.
“Last year we broke $5,000, which was a goal because the two years before, we had broken the $4,000 mark,” said Paul Underwood. “Who knows, maybe we’ll break that and go to $6,000 this year.”
Last year’s collection, which included $635 raised in a silent auction, was $5,702.72.
The luncheon has become a community tradition, Underwood said, a fun day people look forward to.
“Our employees donate their time and we do it all for the United Way. We don’t take out for our food costs, or any other thing. Whatever is taken in at the cash register, will be donated to the United Way at 2 o’clock when we shut down.”
Diners can choose from the regular barbecue and fried chicken entrees, side dishes and cobbler, just as if they were eating at Underwood’s any other day of the week. And diners will be charged the full and regular amount for the meal.
“All the money we take in on this particular Wednesday goes to United Way,” Underwood said. “They’ll make their check out to Underwood’s, then at the end of the day, we’ll count up all the money that’s been taken in and write one check to the United Way.”
The special day is for dine in eating only. There is no take-out, and no service past 2 p.m.
To see the tradition and the donation grow is “special for us,” Underwood said.
“That’s another gratifying part of this,” Underwood said. “Each year we want to do better than the year before. Our hope is that this will continue to grow.
“We hoped when we started this it would become a sort of tradition, and I think, with this being the sixth year, you can say that’s happened.”
United Way board members help serve rolls and bus tables, which, Underwood said, adds a fun element to the day. Also, KOXE does a live remote from the site.
“The help and support we get from the local media helps make the event a success. They’ve helped it grow,” Underwood said. “But the community, the people who come out and eat, I think they like knowing that it’s not just eating lunch - the money they spend on lunch is going for a good cause.”
Many people do make donations beyond their actual meal cost, he said.
“We’ve had lots of people say, ‘Keep the change’ when they’re paying out. Like I said, it’s become a kind of special tradition that we enjoy because of all the levels of participation throughout the community.”