Community Connection
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By Ginny Tonkin GoErie.com staff blogger
Ginny Tonkin loves traveling off the beaten path, learning about new cultures through food, and everything outdoors. She recently spent eight months teaching English in Vietnam, and loves swapping travel stories.   Read more about this blog.
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Let them eat cake: the Community Improvement Center

Let the eat cake. And soup. And throw in a scoop of ice cream, too.

The Community Improvement Center, operated through the United Way of Western Crawford County, will throw a Cake Walk, Soup and Ice Cream Social, February 26 from 3-6 p.m. at the ARC of Crawford County. An outgrowth of the successful community improvement day, Make a Difference Day, the CIC is raising funds to propel their project-based service organization forward.

“Every year about 125 projects are completed on Make a Difference Day,” said Amy Woods, Executive Director of the United Way of Western Crawford County. “Throughout the year, we hope to complete another 125 projects through the CIC.”

“Now we have to beg, borrow, and steal (for funding),” said Woods.

“Make a Difference Day” is an event that makes an army of volunteers of the Crawford community for a day participating in projects like building ramp ways for wheelchairs and installing roofs. Unfortunately, 24 hours doesn’t provide enough time or materials to get all projects completed. The Community Improvement Center was started to address those issues, and operates within the United Way of Western Crawford County.

“Ours is unique because it’s project-based,” said Katie Huser, the United Way’s VISTA, who currently heads the Center.

The CIC’s issue—and the aim—is to become sustainable.

“The more funding we get, the more projects we can complete, and the more we can do for the community,” said Woods, who wants to bring awareness and funding to the CIC. “We have a waiting list of people, because we have no funding for materials. We rely 100% on fundraising and volunteers.”

Huser envisions the CIC as a “clearing house,” a place to connect those who have needs to those who can help them.

“People who call in [a project] are generally those physically and financially unable,” said Huser, calling some stories “heart-breaking” to hear.

The CIC’s Calk Walk, Soup and Ice Cream Social aims to bring funds and awareness to the center. Local restaurants and organizations are pitching in to help the event, including donations of cakes and soups. The recently re-opened Susie’s Ice Cream Factory in Titusville will be donating all the ice cream for the Social.

David Funk of Susie’s said the re-imagined ice cream factory loves to keep the community strong. “We really support local; United Way is a great organization,” said Funk. “We donate out in the community when there’s certain events; we try to keep it all local.”

Want to help? Here’s how.

1)   Show up. And have fun.

The three-hour event is packed with activity, as the name suggests, including a calk walk, a soup contest, and an ice cream social. Vote for your favorite soup in the cook-off; the soup with the most money in its jar will be declared a winner. Take stroll on the cakewalk; tickets are $1 per game, $6 for five, or $10 for an unlimited pass.

2)   Bake

Showcase your culinary talents, and donate a cake! The CIC is taking donations of cakes for the cakewalk. Crawford County restaurants will compete for the best soup; throw yours into the running, too.

3)   Donate.

Your time, your money. Contact the CIC and ask for Katie Huser at 814-337-1251 if you or your organization want to volunteer.

4)   Spread the word.

Know someone in need? Tell them to contact the CIC.

Event Details:

What?  Cake Walk, Soup, and Ice Cream Social

Where? The ARC of Crawford County, 22 Chestnut Street, Meadville

When? 3-6 pm February 26

Benefiting who? The Community Improvement Center, operated through the United Way.

More info? Find the United Way of Western Crawford County on Facebook, and visit their event page.

Posted in: Crawford County

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