MICHIGAN CITY – "There is NO EXCUSE for a dirty car anywhere in Michigan City on Thursday, September 12th."

So says Michigan City Areas Schools Supt. Barbara Eason-Watkins. And with MCAS teaming up with the Michigan City Police and Fire departments to wash cars, she's certainly right.

The three agencies will team up for the annual Unified Car Wash from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. that Thursday at the Plant Planning parking lot across from Ames Field.

"The cars will be washed by police officers, firefighters and school staff," said Fire Department spokesman Tony Drzewiecki. "Then the vehicle drives under the stream of the ladder truck and is rinsed off. The vehicle is next blown dry by leaf blowers and then hand wiped."

"We thank our friends at the Michigan City Fire and Police departments for their partnership in this fun fundraiser for the United Way," Eason-Watkins said. "United Way supports our after-school programs, kindergarten countdown, the Open Door Health center and many other worthy causes in our community."

Police Chief Mark Swistek seconded that statement.

"This is an annual event that we have supported to generate additional funding for our local La Porte County United Way. The United Way supports so many individuals and programs within our community and this is our small way of assisting their efforts," he said.

The fundraiser wasn't always "unified," according to Drzewiecki.

"Several years ago, a challenge was started by the school system and the Police Department, where we all had separate car washes and competed to see who could raise the most money," he said. "Then we decided to unite and combine resources, which made a lot of sense. Our slogan is 'We are United for United Way and We are Better Together'."

The car wash is also a great deal, with a minimum donation of only $5 per car suggested, though donations of any amount are welcome, MCAS spokeswoman Betsy Kohn said.

"Again this year, we will be offering two other popular services – the 'waterless wash' where you can pass on the wash and just make a donation and the 'executive wash,' where donors of $100 or more will receive a special certificate and be featured on social media for their donation," she said.

MCAS will also be conducting a sale of fall mums on site, and a free hot dog lunch will be served.

"Our goal is to raise $10,000-plus for the United Way again this year through this event, which is not too shabby for a car wash," Kohn said, adding that if anyone stops by between 3-6 p.m., "I'll personally wash your windows."

Swistek said you can help, even if your car doesn't need washing.

"Prior to the event if anyone would like to donate, a check can be made out to the United Way of La Porte County and dropped off at the police station, fire administration building, or school administration offices," he said. "And 100 percent of the proceeds raised during this event go directly to our local United Way. We hope to see everyone next Thursday."

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