A night of family fun at UHS

Staff photo by Wm. Shawn Weigel: A family enjoys a homemade meal of pasta and meatballs at the fourth annual Pasta Dinner night at Unionville High School on Saturday night.

Saturday night, Unionville High School was filled with folks enjoying some family fun and games and some tasty homemade pasta.

The United Way of Southern Chester County and the Unionville-Chadds Ford School District cohosted the fourth annual Family Pasta Dinner night at Unionville High School, in one of the organization’s last fundraising events before closing out its fiscal year.

United Way executive director Carrie Freeman said that while they certainly needed every dime they can possibly earn, the fundraising is secondary to a bigger goal.

“I’m not saying that we don’t need the money – because we do need the money – but for us, it’s about community building,” Freeman said. “It’s gathering together at a fun event that is super-family oriented. I mean, we really shoot for everyone, from the babies to the seniors.”

Other than the tasty pasta and meatballs, which are donated by area businesses and prepared and served by volunteers and kids from UHS, kids and families got to play games in the “arcade,” enjoy live music and kid-friendly films, and bid on a number of fun and unique silent auction items.

There was also a Giving Tree, filled with paper birds created by art students at Willowdale Art Studio, each with a donation amount and how that money could go to feed a family for a day.

“They did a really nice job – the birds are beautiful,” she said.

United Way board president Karen Myers said that while she would love to break $15,000 for the event – the organization is still $90,000 short for its 2012-13 fundraising goals – she also echoed Freeman’s sentiments about building community.

“This particular event is more about the community aspect than anything else,” she said. “And we’ve had such great participation from the communities throughout the years. And it’s great to work together with the school, that’s our primary goal.”

Superintendent John Sanville said that he was pleased with the turnout, adding that the crowd has been steadily pouring in since the doors opened at 5 p.m.

“It’s fantastic. And we’ve also had a lot of folks working and volunteering for the event, making for a really great family night,” Sanville said.

And while he was also busy shaking hands and enjoying his own dinner there, Sanville was also keeping one eye on his silent auction offering – a homemade chili dinner for four prepared and served by Sanville, director of education John Nolan and former superintendent Sharon Parker.

“I have not been looking too much, but the last time I checked it was at $150, so it’s creeping up there,” he said. “A lot of people are asking if we can do special orders, live vegetarian and whatnot. So, we aim to please – whatever suits the winner of the lot.”

And, like Myers and Freeman, he also was pleased to be working towards something greater than just a dollar amount.

“Truth is, it’s such a nice event, so anything we can do to build community here is good. It’s part of the fabric of what we do here.”

For more information on the United Way of Southern Chester County, or to donate, visit www.unitedwayscc.org.