City residents have dressed down, bought baked goods and signed away a portion of every paycheque, all in the name of the United Way.

With the official close of the annual community campaign two weeks away, a local company is giving Ottawans a chance to get rid of any unworn gold jewelry, make a bit of money and help the Earth and the organization meet its fundraising goal — all at the same time.

Ottawa-based precious metals recycling company Recycle Frog has partnered with the United Way to evaluate and buy unwanted gold jewelry based on what gold is selling for that day, giving a portion of the profit and the customer’s payout to the United Way.

Ten per cent of the overall gold content is donated to the United Way, said Recycle Frog president Matthew MacQuarrie.

“These innovative fundraising ideas will go a long way to infuse the campaign with some much-needed, last-minute energy,” said Jamie McCracken, 2009 United Way Ottawa campaign chair. “We are tracking slightly behind where we want to be. When we get down to crunch time like this, it is critical that our community realizes just how much every donor and every dollar is needed.”

During a gold drive yesterday, the company bought 600 grams of gold and 837 grams of silver, paying out $7,296 to customers and $1,122 to the United Way.

Some of the things that come in include necklaces, old rings “and lots of mismatched earrings,” said Recycle Frog vice-president David Martinek.

“It raises a lot of money for the United Way really quickly,” MacQuarrie said. An average transaction results in $40 for the campaign, he said.

The gold gets sent to a refinery, turned into gold bullion and is returned to the gold commodity market.