The Brown County United Way campaign has been under way for almost one month now, and what has become one of the most popular features of the annual appeal is scheduled Wednesday. Underwood’s, in itself one of Brownwood’s best-known tourist attractions, will open its doors to the public for lunch on Wednesday, and proceeds will benefit the United Way.

Typically, the drive takes several weeks to see significant gains because a large number of past and potential givers must be contacted. This year’s effort is no different, and contributions are coming in at about the same . The United Way board was told last week that contributions stand at about the 10 percent level, with major employee campaigns just getting started and division chairs and volunteers still making initial contacts. But the Underwood’s luncheon has provided a major boost for the campaign in the years since the cafeteria came up with the idea.

Regular patrons of Underwood’s know that the business is typically closed on Wednesdays. But an exception is made for this day, and for this special purpose, and the community’s response has been outstanding. It’s a great deal of work, though, and Underwood’s employees give up a portion of their day off to support the organization that helps fund 14 important local agencies.

But the good-cause event also involves a lot of fun, too, as United Way volunteers pitch in to make this unique visit to the cafeteria even more memorable.

The success of the luncheon speaks for itself. Proceeds have totaled more than $4,000 in past years. A strong turnout from the public this year will help match or hopefully exceed previous figures and make a significant contribution toward the campaign’s goal of $325,000.

The awareness the luncheon generates for the United Way, however, is just as important as the dollars it generates. Just as Underwood’s is a crossroads of Texas, where people of all walks of life from all corners of the state stop and enjoy a meal, the United Way is a crossroads of organizations that exist solely to provide helping services, educational programs and social services that benefit everyone in the community. Conservative estimates suggest that as many as two-thirds of the county’s population are directly affected by one or more programs of Brown County United Way agencies.

Your monetary gift to the United Way, perhaps through a payroll deduction plan where you work, is still needed. But almost everyone is planning on eating a meal at Underwood’s this week. Many will be joining United Way supporters on Wednesday.

Brownwood Bulletin