Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

June 7, 2013

Sunshine, dedicated volunteers help Strawberry Festival succeed

Brent Brown
Greensburg Daily News

Greensburg — A beautiful Friday afternoon did its part to ensure the success of this year’s iteration of the Decatur County United Fund’s (DCUF) annual Strawberry Festival.

The many hardworking volunteers and DCUF members on and around the lively courthouse square did the rest.

Cars, trucks and vans lined up in droves for orders of strawberry shortcakes throughout mid-morning and into the early afternoon Friday. They came for a tasty strawberry treat, but the donations of the several hundred patrons who chipped in for a snack will go toward something far sweeter: The many nonprofit groups working to make the Decatur County community a better place each day.

Locally, the United Fund serves 22 different nonprofit organizations, encompassing about 26 different programs, according to DCUF executive director Joane Cunningham.

Cunningham said she was “very pleased” with the day’s turnout, adding that organizers fulfilled nearly 700 pre-orders from local businesses. Drive-thru and walk-up orders also appeared brisk around lunchtime Friday.

The significant show of support for the long-running fruit-centric festival is a big boost for the DCUF, which relies on the strawberry program and its annual fall auction for the bulk of its fundraising endeavors. Money gained via these fundraisers and other donations throughout the year contribute toward the DCUF’s Capital Campaign, which has a goal of $390,000 this year.

The Strawberry Festival is second in fundraising importance only to the auction, Cunninham noted.

By the time the last strawberry shortcake reached the final hungry customer Friday, the United Fund had preliminarily brought in more than $6,000 — an improvement over last year’s total by approximately $500.

When the day had ended, Cunningham and company offered thanks to those who participated, mentioning her gratitude to K-B Specialty Foods for donating the strawberries, shortcakes and whipped cream; Smith Implements for providing the Gator vehicle used to transport the treats; the Decatur County Commissioners for the use of the courthouse lawn, the City of Greensburg Street Department for the use of cones and barrels in the drive-thru area, First Presbyterian Church for the use of its facility, and Ellis Tents and Events for the tables and tent used on the courthouse lawn.

“We do appreciate the community for all their help and support,” the executive director said.

Cunningham reserved the most praise, however, for the approximately 100 volunteers who gave their time to help the program throughout the day Friday. That group included various Decatur County residents, many of whom were veterans of previous Strawberry Festivals, in addition to a peer helper group from South Decatur High School and employees of MainSource Bank and the Decatur County Family YMCA. From the Presbyterian Church to the south side of the courthouse, it was virtually impossible not to see volunteers hurrying here and there in an effort lend a hand Friday.

“We have a very good group of community volunteers,” Cunningham said. “It’s definitely a group effort.”

Contact: Brent Brown 812-663-3111 x7056