Wishes might come true for those throwing pocket change into a local fountain, Meg Pearson said.
The fountain at Edward E. Haley Community Park, 201 S. Main St., Ottawa, is collecting change and wishes for the United Way’s Make-A-Wish campaign, Pearson, director of United Way of Franklin County Association, said.
“I went to the city and asked permission to use the fountain as part of our fundraising efforts,” she said. “That way people can make wishes and throw money into Franklin County and their wishes will mean more and help our community.”
Each year, nonprofit groups in the community apply to become part of the United Way’s fundraising campaigns, Pearson said, and once the United Way chooses its 16 nonprofits for the year, it begins fundraising efforts.
The idea for the Make-A-Wish campaign came to Pearson when her young daughter was throwing coins into a fountain and wishing for an American Girl doll, she said.
“It’s a long standing American tradition to make wishes and throw money into fountains,” she said. “This will bring in more than just their wish — it will help so many families.”
Many people give back to the community and the United Way through payroll deductions, Pearson said, but not everyone has that option available.
“Some people work for small businesses and may not have a payroll deduction available, but want to donate,” she said. “The more opportunity we have in the community to allow people to join in, the more money we raise and the more people we serve.”
The United Way is raising money Oct. 1 to Nov. 15 for its 16 nonprofits through the United Way Black Out Campaign, she said. During that time, the United Way is set to do many fundraising events alongside its Make-A-Wish campaign, Pearson added.
There’s no set goal the United Way is trying to raise through its Make a Wish campaign, she said.
“At the end of the campaign, we will go and we’ll drain the fountain and take the money out and that money will go back to our 16 nonprofits that United Way represents,” she said. “Whatever we can raise in the community to help our community is the end goal — it’s always going to be the goal.”
To bring awareness about where a person’s spare change and wish are going, Pearson said, a sign is being made to let people know just how they’re helping. Kendra Toumberlin-Adcock, a local artist, was asked by Pearson so make the sign, Toumberlin-Adcock said.
“I’m so proud,” Toumberlin-Adcock said. “I think it’s such a cool idea, and I think it’s going to be such a neat thing to do. I’m proud I get to do it.”
Toumberlin-Adcock’s work can be seen on the window of Bella Cucina Italian Restaurant as well as in Main Street Antiques and Furniture, she said.
“I’m very flattered because they saw my work at Bella Cucina’s and loved it,” she said. “I can’t imagine that my sign is going to be in that little park down there. That’s sweet. It’s going to be there and it’s going to bring something really good out of it.”