MARIETTA - Cathy Farley had two good reasons to buy a United Way Bowl T-shirt Friday night at Don Drumm Stadium.
One, proceeds benefit the United Way of Washington County and the 18 local agencies it supports. Two, the Warren Township resident with granddaughters who cheer for Marietta High School could have both the Tigers' and the Warren Warriors' logos on her shirt.
"That way, I'm not partial," she said.
Marietta College first lady and United Way of Washington County board member Diane Bruno, right, measures an arm’s length of raffle tickets for Marietta resident Cindy Pauley prior to the start of the second annual United Way Bowl on Friday at Don Drumm Stadium. (Photo by Evan Bevins)
Buying a T-shirt was just one way fans could contribute to the start of the United Way's 2013 campaign, held for the second year at the gridiron showdown between the Tigers and Warriors. They could also buy raffle tickets and donate money to students from both schools roaming the stands.
The United Way Bowl trophy went back home with Warren as the Warriors won the game 20-13. But the Tigers earned the Fan Appreciation award as Marietta fans out-donated Warren's $855.58 to $622.70. The total amount of fan donations exceeded last year's by about $325, when Warren won the game and the side contest.
"That's fantastic," said Al Miller, coordinator of the event for the United Way.
The organization held the inaugural game last year, taking advantage of the built-in crowd for the biggest scholastic rivalry in Washington County to get its message and the agencies it supports out in front of the community. Again this year, the 18 agencies that receive funding from the United Way paraded around the field prior to kickoff.
"I think it's a good idea because the community gets to see what agencies are available," said Lori Sayre, activities coordinator for the O'Neill Center, one of the supported agencies.
Robin Bozian, president of the Washington County Free Clinic and a board member for domestic violence shelter and education organization EVE Inc., said it's an opportunity to educate people about the United Way and the organizations that may one day help them.
"It's a nice way to get some visibility," she said. Many of the agencies featured "get calls every day from people who had no idea they're here."
Prior to the game, United Way played host to a tailgate party. Originally meant as a thank-you to sponsors, Miller said the group decided to invite representatives of the agencies as well.
"It kind of grew from thanking sponsors to an opportunity for the sponsors to (talk to) the agencies," he said.
Sinda Bailey, 27, who has a Marietta address but lives in the Warren Local school district, bought a United Way Bowl shirt as a souvenir of the evening and to support the organization.
"It's for a good cause, and it brings the community together," she said.
The United Way's goal for its 2013 campaign is $237,000. People can contribute by contacting the office at (740) 373-3333 or donating online at www.washingtoncountyuw.net.