The possibility of dinner out at local restaurants is sometimes all it takes to convince people to give.
Of course, when it’s $2,500 in gift cards for local restaurants and eateries, people don’t take much convincing.
The Wiregrass United Way is holding its Dine Out Dothan fundraiser again this year, selling $10 tickets for the chance to win a grand prize of $1,500 in gift cards to local restaurants, coffee shops and bakeries. There will also be two runner-up prizes of $500 each.
A Facebook Live drawing will be held Friday, Dec. 17, at 2:30 p.m. on the Wiregrass United Way’s Facebook page.
“Last year, it was two people that work at United Way agencies that won and you would have thought we’d handed them keys to a new car,” said Walter Hill, the Wiregrass United Way’s chief executive officer. “I mean they were just floored.”
This year, some of the participating restaurants include Barberitos, Blue Plate, The Cellar, David’s Catfish, Fazoli’s, Folklore Brewing, Hot’s Deli, KBC, Mr. Coffee Bean, MY Cake and Pastries, My Pie Pizza, and ThreeSixty Kitchen + Bar. There are even restaurants outside of Dothan participating, such as Corks & Cattle in Enterprise, Ketchem’s in Hartford and The Bottletree in Headland.
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Most of the gift cards are in amounts of $100 or $50.
Hill said he enjoys the fundraiser, especially when the gift cards help introduce people to eateries they’ve never visited.
“I just get so excited,” Hill said. “… The joy it brings people when you hand them this and they start looking at it, it’s literally like Christmas morning.”
This is the fourth year the Wiregrass United Way has held the Dine Out Dothan fundraiser. It started the same year as Hurricane Michael, and the local United Way saw that its normal fundraising efforts would not be enough to reach the goal that year.
“It was tremendously successful because who would not love to win a stack of gift cards to restaurants?” Hill said.
It was so easy to sell tickets, that even volunteers who normally don’t like to sell tickets had no problems. And it’s a quick fundraiser – just a few weeks between the start of ticket sales and the drawing.
Dine Out Dothan raises between $12,000 to $20,000 each year to go toward the Wiregrass United Way’s annual fundraising goal, which is $2.75 million this year. The agency’s annual fundraising wraps up at the end of January. The agency is currently at 77% of its goal, and its funds support 38 partner agencies and nonprofits in six Wiregrass counties.
Tickets for Dine Out Dothan are $10 each and can be purchased by visiting the Wiregrass United Way’s office on North Foster Street in downtown Dothan. Payment is accepted by check, cash or Venmo (call 334-792-9661 to pay by Venmo). Hill said if there are enough people who want tickets, he will even visit local businesses.
“We are very blessed,” Hill said. “We live in a very giving community, and when I say community, I mean the whole Wiregrass.”
Peggy Ussery is a Dothan Eagle staff writer and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 334-712-7963. Support her work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at dothaneagle.com.