Does food prepared with love taste better?
Just ask the many folks who sampled the amazing desserts prepared for Albright LIFE's second Dessert Tasting to benefit Lycoming County United Way. It really was impossible to miss the care and love that was put into preparing the array of desserts for the event held Friday.
From top left, Tracy Haas, Ann Haas and Marianne Guinter, with sons Ian (being held) and Braden, front left, helped lead the second Albright?LIFE Dessert life to support the Lycoming County United Way’s annual campaign.
Each special creation was baked by members of Albright LIFE's staff: certified nurses aides, therapists, social workers and even the executive director. Two staff members who are diabetic also baked diabetic-friendly treats including fudge, Boston cream pie and sugar cookies.
At the center of the unique event was a unique team - two sisters who are passionate about giving back to the community in which they grew up.
Marianne Guinter, human resources assistant with Larson Design Group, and Tracy Haas, marketing coordinator with Albright LIFE, have turned their roles in the annual United Way fundraising efforts into a friendly family competition.
"Last year when my sister came up with the 'Pay to Throw a Pie at the Manager' contest at Larson Design Group, I knew that would be a tough one to beat," Haas said. "The employees there really rallied around the concept and enjoyed a lively event. It was my first year participating in the United Way campaign, so I knew I'd have to come at it differently. I wanted to show one of the assets we are most proud of at Albright LIFE, which was easy - our staff, who give so selflessly as they care for our participants. So why not have our staff show off their baking talents? Besides, who doesn't love dessert?"
Haas said Guinter has been especially helpful in the preparation for this year's dessert tasting.
"She began baking well in advance of the event and single-handedly provided all the desserts for the bake sale table," she said.
"I was so amazed at the countless ways United Way helps in our community that I found it hard not to get involved," Guinter said. "And then when I saw firsthand how Albright LIFE serves the community as a direct beneficiary of the United Way, I was even more convinced to do my part."
Albright LIFE (Living Independently for Elders) is a community-based program that helps elderly individuals live safely in the place they call home. LIFE participants receive medical, social, nutritional and rehabilitative services at Albright's Adult Day Health Center in Williamsport and, when necessary, at home.
"This year at Larson Design Group, we are hosting a contest in which employees vote by donation on which manager gets to kiss a real pig," Guinter said. "We really enjoy supporting our community and having some fun while we are at it gives us a chance to get more people involved and aware of what United Way does in our community."
The dynamic sister duo also has recruited two additional generations - this year their mother, Ann Haas, assisted with preparing desserts along with Marianne's 9-year old son.
"What ties it all together is a mutual respect for the outstanding services that United Way provides in the community," Ann said. "We were happy to work together on these creative ways to support our neighbors in need. I like that 97 percent of United Way funds stay right here in Lycoming County."
Along with payroll deduction, individual and corporate gifts, United Way welcomes imaginative fundraisers like the ones Haas and Guinter planned with their employers, according to Scott N. Lowery, executive director of the Lycoming County United Way.
"We are thrilled to see the efforts put forth by Tracy and Marianne with their events," Lowery said. "Supporting the annual campaign can mean having your employer dedicate a certain amount of each paycheck to United Way or making a donation by cash, check or charge. Events like these are the cherry on top and we truly appreciate the added hard work Tracy and Marianne have done on our behalf."
For more information on Lycoming County United Way or to support the campaign that funds more than 40 human service programs, visit lcuw.org or call 323-9448.