United Way’s Day of Caring features food sculpting

united-way-logo-300x298By Riley Manning

Daily Journal

TUPELO – In celebration of a record-breaking year, the United Way of Northeast Mississippi will carry out this year’s day of caring with a food-sculpture contest on Friday.

“The companies will make sculptures of food collected through drives in their individual offices,” said United Way campaign director Robby Parman. “For instance, Toyota might make a robotic arm.”

Parman said 13 companies have signed up so far to create sculptures in the BancorpSouth Arena. On Friday at 11 a.m., the public is invited to view and vote on their favorite sculpture. Following the contest, a $10 celebration lunch will be offered in which awards will be given to company and individual efforts in last year’s campaign, as well as the campaign cabinet and volunteers.

The food itself will be divided and distributed among the United Way’s eight food pantries in Northeast Mississippi.

“It’s a way to celebrate reaching our goal last year, to thank all the people involved,” Parman said. “And it’s a way to make it fun.”

Last year’s Day of Caring consisted of area companies volunteering at various United Way agencies, completing yard work, repairs and organization. The event turned out to be one of the most successful campaigns of the year, and at the end of 2013, the United Way had raised more money than it has in its 52-year operation in Northeast Mississippi.

To boot, 75 percent of last year’s pledges came through workplace efforts in spite of corporate cutbacks and tough economic times.

As with other campaigns, 99 cents of every dollar raised at the event stays within the nonprofit’s seven-county area, composed of Chickasaw, Itawamba, Lee, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Tishomingo and Union counties.

riley.manning@journalinc.com