On Friday, the eighth annual Unified Car Wash for the United Way of La Porte County was held across from Ames Field in Michigan City. The car wash was held to raise money for the United Way and in turn, support those in need within the community. A $5 minimum donation was suggested for a wash, but any donation was accepted.
Aside from the general wash, two other services were offered, the “waterless wash” where people can pass on the wash and just make a donation, or the “executive wash” where donors of $100 or more received a special certificate and were featured on social media. Pumpkins and mums were also sold to celebrate fall, and a free hot dog lunch was served to all participants.
In the past, there were rival car washes throughout the day at different locations. The Michigan City Police Department, Fire Department, and schools had a friendly competition to see who would raise the most money. In the past few years, however, all departments joined together to form a unified car wash in order to show the community what exactly unity looks like.
According to the United Way of La Porte County's website, "United Way of LaPorte County's collective community impact projects create pathways to success for the local youth in the community, bring financial stability to adults and families, fight homelessness, and provide a safety net for friends and neighbors in times of crisis."
“The car wash has been super successful since we have all came together,” said Randy Novak, Fire Chief for the Michigan City Fire Department. “Everything's better when people come together, especially raising money with the car wash because it’s absolutely incredible how much United Way does for our community.”
Cars entered the parking lot and followed the cones leading to the donation, pumpkin and mum table. After giving their donation and purchasing a pumpkin or mum, the cones would lead them to a group of students, firefighters and policemen. The group washed each car with brushes and sponges, and then quickly rinsed with a normal garden hose. Next, the car would drive underneath the fire truck’s 50-gallon spray snorkel. Finally, a “drying group” would dry the cars off with rags and leaf blowers.
“This is my first year participating in the car wash,” said Gage Burns, a junior attending New Prairie High School. “It feels great to be involved with the community and especially raise money for United Way.”
Throughout the day, coffee, donuts and food were provided to the students, firefighters and policemen helping with the car wash. The Unified Car Wash was a great opportunity to raise money for United Way and for people to get a unique wash experience.