Kickoff Cookoff this Friday, to start CNY United Way campaign

On Friday, the CNY Regional Market hosts the United Way's Kickoff Cookoff, with companies offering tastes of their entries as the fundraising campaign gets underway.

After ten years, it's a start of fall tradition: this Friday, for the 11th year, the United Way of CNY starts its annual fundraising campaign with a 'Kickoff Cookoff.'

43 area companies prepare food--in quantity--to offer samples at the CNY Regional Market, to the accompanyment of live music. Samplers pay $5 for the 'all you can eat' grazing from noon to 2pm.

Frank Lazarski, the CNY United Way's executive director, says the money raised goes towards this year's campaign. 2000 supporters are expected to cook and more. Samplers can vote on their favorite foods (there's a huge rivalry to be the best!)

The United Way hopes to fund 48 different not-for-profits this coming year (13 more than this year). Lazarski says the economy may be improving, but people have more complex problems and need more help from service agencies, which are also facing cutbacks in federal dollars.

For more on United Way plans, check their website,