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United Way surpasses goal

By Richard Rourk

More than 20 local agencies will soon get a boost thanks to the generosity of the community and the hard work of the United Way of Unicoi County.

Despite a year of unprecedented events related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the $120,000 goal set by the organization’s board earlier this year was met and surpassed with more than $128,000 in donations and pledges reported.

“This year has been especially challenging for many individuals in our community, as well as the agencies which receive funds from our annual fundraising campaign,” United Way of Unicoi County President Lee H. Brown said. “We began our campaign with a virtual kickoff event in September knowing that the events of this year could potentially impact our ability to meet our campaign goal. But, once again, the citizens, employees, and businesses in Unicoi County and beyond rose to the occasion and helped us surpass our $120,000 campaign goal. We are very thankful for everyone’s support, and, personally, I am very proud to be part of a community that values helping others.”

According to United Way of Unicoi County representative Lynnsey Seagroves, this year’s United Way of Unicoi County campaign raised a total of $131,369 for numerous local organizations.

United Way of Unicoi County donations are distributed to more than 20 local agencies whose work directly impacts Unicoi County children, senior adults, and families. These agencies include the Unicoi County YMCA, the Unicoi County Library, Second Harvest Foodbank of Northeast Tennessee, Court Appointment Special Advocates (CASA) for Children, and the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center. Receiving agencies are required to submit detailed funding requests and financial documentation for board approval each year to receive United Way funds.

Several local employers, including Nuclear Fuel Services, Erwin Utilities, Impact Plastics, TN Tennessee, Specialty Tires of America, the Unicoi County Gas Utility District, the Unicoi County Hospital, and the Unicoi County School System, play an important role in the success of the United Way’s fundraising efforts by providing company donations or opportunities for contributions through payroll deduction.

The Tennessee Valley Authority and Erwin Utilities provided additional support with COVID-19 Community Care funds. These contributions were especially critical in the success of this year’s campaign as other opportunities for fundraising were canceled due to rising COVID-19 cases in the county.

“I would like to extend my gratitude to the community for their continued support of United Way’s mission,” Brown said. “It has been a pleasure to serve on our local United Way Board of Directors for the last 15 years. As we wrap up another successful campaign and I conclude my service as president, I would like to thank the board for the opportunity to serve in this capacity for the last eight years.”

Although the fundraising campaign has ended, United Way donations are accepted year round. For those interested in donating to the United Way of Unicoi County, please mail checks payable to the United Way of Unicoi County, P.O. Box 343, Erwin, TN 37650 or visit the United Way of Unicoi County Facebook page for a link to make credit or debit card donations through PayPal.