Unicoi County United Way President Lee Brown kicked off the latest fundraising campaign at a breakfast on Tuesday, Sept. 25. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Richard Rourk)

By Richard Rourk

It’s officially fall in Unicoi County. The leaves are changing, the nights are getting a little cooler, and Blue Devil Football is on a roll. It is also time for the local United Way chapter to kick off its latest campaign.

The United Way officially kicked off the 2018-19 drive on Tuesday, Sept. 25, with its annual breakfast at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center.

Unicoi County United Way President Lee Brown kicked things off by welcoming attendees to the breakfast.

“It’s hard to sum up what all United Way does, but I can tell you a single contribution has a chance to reach so many people,” Brown said.

Breakfast was then served and the guests were treated to a performance by the Unicoi County Blue Belles.

Unicoi County High School Principal Chris Bogart spoke on behalf of the Unicoi County Little League, which receives support from the local United Way. Projects such as replacing the fences and general upkeep of the field come from contributions from United Way.

“One of the great things that United Way does for Little League is provide scholarships for the children that come to play,” Bogart said. “We do charge a fee, it’s not a large fee, but if you have multiple children playing it can add up.”

Representatives from Riverview Baptist Church addressed the crowd and sent out a challenge. Pastor David Brown and his congregation collect socks and blankets for the homeless.

“A fire starts in one place,” Brown said. “The fire starts in one place, then it spreads much like the desire that resides in all of you to help those around you.”

He stated there are more than a hundred churches in this county. Riverview Baptist Church Representative Sue Webb added, “it is an honor to be here. And as Pastor Brown said, there are more than a hundred churches in this county and I challenge them to give.”

According to statistics provided by Unicoi County United Way, over the last three years, the United Way was able to raise more than $380,000 which funded 22 agencies to serve more than 10,000 Unicoi County citizens.

Ninety-three percent of contributions raised go back into helping the community right here in Unicoi County.

“We usually do more than our goal to help out more organizations,” Brown said. “Sometimes we are able to help up to 25 or more organizations.”

In closing President Brown went on to address what it means to give. “If we can feed a hungry child, what a blessing,” he said.

The goal for this year’s drive is $120,000. If you would like to donate, the Unicoi County United Way will have donation spots throughout the community. Pal’s in Erwin will have a donation box from Sept. 25 until Oct. 8. There is a donation box at Hawg N Dawg on Union Street in downtown Erwin as well.

You can also send a check to the Unicoi County United Way P.O. Box 343. You can keep track of the progress by visiting the Unicoi County United Way’s Facebook page.

There is also a banner outside the post office in Erwin that will track the progress.

The United Way victory event will be held Dec. 6 at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center.