Thanks to the extra funds raised, the United Way was able to give to additional organizations. United Way Vice President David Erickson, right, presents a check to Larry Rose, a representative of the Imagination Library. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Richard Rourk)

By Richard Rourk

The Unicoi County United Way surpassed its goal of $120,000 during the most recent drive thanks to the generosity of the citizens of Unicoi County.

It was announced during the United Way Victory Luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 6, that the local United Way received a total of $128,528, which will benefit 22 area organizations.

“It’s been a good year,” Unicoi County United Way Vice President David Erickson told The Erwin Record.

Clinchfield Senior Adult Center’s reception room was packed with members of the organizations that both help and are helped out by the United Way. The crowd was treated to a lunch prepared by Rachelle Hyder-Shurtz and music by the Unicoi County High School Blue Belles.

After lunch, the Development Director of Second Harvest Food Bank, Ann Rhem addressed the crowd to discuss the impact that United Way has on the community.

“The population of Unicoi County is 17,945 and of that 2,580 citizens are food deprived,” Rhem stated.

That is roughly 14.4 percent of the population of Unicoi County that could use the assistance of Second Harvest Food Bank.

Another organization on hand that United Way has been able to help is Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA). CASA helps assist and represent children during court cases.

“Children can often slip through the cracks of the justice system, and we are here to help make sure that they have the same representative with them every step of the way,” Executive Director of CASA Whitney Mclaughlin said.

After recognizing the organizations in attendance and handing out special awards for those that contributed, Unicoi County United Way President Lee Brown revealed the total amount of $128,528 that was raised by the local businesses.

“This wouldn’t be possible without everyone sitting in this room, and our local industry that is committed to the United Way,” Brown said. “They are the backbone and the lifeblood of the area United Way.”

The annual United Way drive may be over, but you can always give to the United Way of Unicoi County. Donations can be mailed anytime to Unicoi County United Way, PO Box 343, Erwin, TN 37650.

Also, follow Unicoi County United Way’s Facebook page for more updates and events.