There is less than one week left for Erath County United Way to meet its campaign goal of $300,000.

Currently at 54.3 percent of its goal, with $162,836 raised, the campaign is turning to the taste buds of local citizens to make it to the home stretch.

On Tuesday, four local restaurants will host a “Dine Out United” night as they donate a portion of each bill to the United Way. Bull Nettle, Agave, Cotton Patch and Chili’s are encouraging families to dine out for dinner and support local charities.

Funds raised during the United Way annual campaign are placed back into the community as the organization allocates funds to its partner agencies. Those agencies, which are Erath County non-profit organizations, include CASA for the Cross Timbers Area, Inc, Cross Timbers Family Services, Dublin Goodfellows, Dublin Christmas in Action, Dublin Senior Citizens, Emergency Food and Shelter Program, 4-H, Child Welfare Board, Habitat for Humanity, Senior Citizens, Meals on Wheels, Girl Scouts of Central Texas, H.O.P.E., Red Cross, The Helping Place, Star Council on Substance Abuse, SAIL, TREAT, Texas Trails Council, Boy Scouts of America and Tree House After School Program.

United Way officials calculated that donations are down nearly 13 percent from last year, which could mean less funding for the non-profits’ programs, which benefit the community tremendously, said 2009 Campaign co-chair Lisette Dottavio.

While all of the agencies are required to raise their own funds, many of them are government grants, which limits the use of the money,” she said. “United Way kind of fills that gap. We provide money they can use for discretionary funds. We continue to help them do the work they do so well in the community.”

Despite the decline in donations, Dottavio is impressed with the funds Erath County residents have donated to assist United Way’s partner agencies despite a suffering economy.

“One of the things that has been so humbling to me is the people giving sacrificially,” Dottavio said.

The company that left a lasting impressing on Dottavio was Saint-Gobain Abrasives, which she visited during all shifts, including one that worked at 4 a.m.

“Those individuals are on an hourly budget and it was really inspirational to see how much they have given,” Dottavio said. “They have made some sacrifices to give to United Way.”

Other companies, whose employees cannot make contributions, have also made significant donations to the campaign.

“We have had some companies and organizations that have really stepped up and are doing things to help raise funds even when their employees can’t match (contributions),” Dottavio said.

Another aspect of this year’s campaign that has been an advantage is the Campaign Cabinet, which is made up of community leaders that “recruit” others in their industry to contribute funds.

“They have really done a marvelous job of getting other (leaders) to get involved,” Dottavio said.

For the next week, Dottavio, the Campaign Cabinet and other volunteers will do what they have been doing since the campaign began this year.

“We are trying very hard just to get the word out about these partner agencies and how contributing to them contributes to the whole community,” she said.

To donate to the United Way’s 2009 campaign, the community can participate in Dine Out United on Tuesday, participate in salary deductions (contact employer for more information), mail contributions to United Way (see campaign brochures at local businesses) or visit www.erathcountyuw.org.