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Pig preps for puckering: HCUW to kick off fundraiser Thursday

Article Published: Sep. 16, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Pig preps for puckering: HCUW to kick off fundraiser Thursday

Mary Smalling kisses Sophie the pig at a fundraiser for Hardin Park School. The High Country United Way will use a similar scheme to raise funds for its member agencies. File photo by Mark Mitchell

No snout about it, High Country United Way is embarking on a rather non-traditional way to ham up some cash, and the faint of heart need not apply.

"We're looking for someone who's passionate about the community," HCUW director Linda Slade said, "someone who wants to help raise money for United Way," and that's not all.

"We're looking for someone who's not afraid to kiss a pig," Slade said.

Actually, Slade is looking for a few good someones. The idea for the Big Pig Kiss-Off Challenge is simple.

"We're looking for people that will issue a challenge," she said. "They will set a fundraising goal and build a team."

If their team meets the goal, he or she will have to kiss a pig.

But, if the goal isn't met, "The whole team will have to kiss the pig," she said.

And The Mountain Times will be there with cameras to capture the make-out session.

While she's calling Thursday's event a "kiss off," no pigs will be kissed Thursday.

"This is a first date," she said. "Nobody gets a kiss on the first date. But you will meet the little porker."

And you may sample some family members thanks to Bandana's.

"It's pig themed," Slade said. "We'll serve food like pork sliders."

Thursday will feel more like a celebration than a fundraiser.

"Basically, it's our attempt to bring more and more people to the table and to the work we do with United Way," she said. "While we realize that a lot of people think that the United Way is strictly a fundraiser organization, we're not only that. We're about community needs and assessing those needs."

This particularly porky challenge starts Thursday and lasts through Nov. 30. That's when final tallies will be made. "I promise we'll wash its little face," Slade said.

Another reason The Mountain Times is oinking about the pork-tacular event? Mountain Times Publications publisher Gene Fowler is among the potential puckerers.

"I figure that the pig probably would be more afraid of me than I am of the pig," Fowler said before pausing. "You know, I hope pigs don't have whiskers."

How does Fowler plan to raise money?

"I'll strong arm my staff," he said. "But it's all in good fun. I think it's a way we can make United Way more fun."

The Kiss-Off happens Thursday from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Wachovia Bank in Boone. Free food will be provided by Bandana's Bar-B-Que & Grill.

For more information or to be a challenger, contact Slade at (828) 265-2111.

High Country United Way ( is a community-based organization that develops human and financial resources in an effort to improve the quality of life in the High Country. Organizations served include the Hospitality House and the Watauga Chapter of the American Red Cross.

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