In the spirit of building a stronger community, the Cooke County United Way and the local Applebee’s have joined hands for the common cause of bettering the neighborhood, through the neighborhood.

The Cooke County United Way has been serving the area since 1955, and as the coordinator of the organization, Angie Hare said, “This is a tough time, and people are turning to the United Way more than ever.”

The Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar became a part of this effort to help the community when the restaurant heard of how it could be of service to the people of the area through the help of the United Way.

On Oct.13, the organization’s volunteers set out to recruit pledges or donations from businesses and employees within the county, but Applebee’s decide to extend its helping hand a little further.

During Oct. 27, 28, and 29 Applebee’s will be hosting a “Dining to Donate” event that allows 15 percent of the bill to go towards the United Way cause. United Way volunteers have the “Dining to Donate” flyers that should be presented to Applebee’s on the dates of the event. The United Way helpers will also be present at the restaurant during the event with items and information on the efforts of the organization.

“Applebee’s could have simply written a check, but they went further than that, and they are telling the community ‘We support the United Way and you should too,’” said Hare.

The organization wishes to raise awareness and excitement for this blended approach to bringing the neighborhood together, and as Applebee’s is a neighborhood restaurant, the pair seemed like a good fit.

”It is a way to be supportive of neighborhood charities,” said General Manger Dallas Hagar, “The Dining to Donate is a great way to support a great cause.”

Hare said that the United Way’s 2010 campaign goal is $355,000 and they hope to reach this goal by the beginning of November through generous actions from people and businesses in the county.

It seems that Applebee’s and the United Way can make this happen through the services that the restaurant offers, with its small town appeal and family friendly environment.

“We need people excited about taking part,” said Hare.

Hagar is also in hopes that this Dining to Donate event will bring an excitement to the charitable cause, but he also strives to strengthen the community’s bond and build relationships with people in the area to ensure that everyone benefits from the concept of asking that a good deed be repaid by having it furthered to others.

“We are also raising an awareness that we are getting back into the community, and we can meet people that come in and connect with them on a personal level,” said Hagar.

Applebee’s has chosen to take part in this movement towards a better Cooke County, and all that is needed is a hungry stomach and supportive heart.

Hagar was adamant about bringing as much awareness to this cause as possible, and if this article is brought in and presented to the server, it will act as one of the Dining to Donate flyers to ensure that the community gets the help it needs from the helping neighbors at the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar.

Applebee’s is located at 4323 N. Interstate 35 and is open from 10:30 a.m. to midnight. For more information, call (940) 612-3631.

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