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Support sought for local pandemic relief

By Richard Rourk

Erwin Utilities has partnered with the United Way of Unicoi County and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) to help Unicoi County residents during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.

“During this challenging time, some of our neighbors find themselves in a situation they have never experienced before,” Erwin Utilities President and CEO Lee H. Brown said. “They need assistance with the essentials of life. Together, we have the opportunity to provide a minimum of $30,000 in assistance to the people who need it most right here in our community.”

Erwin Utilities and the United Way of Unicoi County will collectively match up to $10,000 in donations from the community. Additionally, TVA will match up to $10,000 through its COVID-19 Community Care Fund, which helps local power companies, like Erwin Utilities, to meet immediate needs in their communities related to COVID-19.

According to United Way of Unicoi County Vice President David Erickson, leaders from these agencies are asking those who are able to donate to the cause in order to maximize the full potential of available matching funds.

“This is a great opportunity for our community to support one another during this unprecedented time,” Erickson said. “Donations made by our community members have the potential to triple, which will go a long way in improving the lives of those in our area who have been hit hardest by the ongoing health crisis.”

According to Brown, the United Way of Unicoi County distributes funds to local agencies that ensure disbursements are going directly to unmet, essential needs in the community.

“This initiative has the potential to create a large, positive impact in Unicoi County,” Brown said. “For example, a $10 donation from a community member can become a $30 donation with the available matching funds from Erwin Utilities, United Way, and TVA. Collectively, we have the power to touch many peoples’ lives right here at home.”

Brown acknowledges that to reach this collaboration’s maximum potential, a communitywide minimum goal of $10,000 in donations has been established. Those who are interested in donating are asked to mail a check to the United Way of Unicoi County at P.O. Box 343, Erwin, TN 37650 or contribute through the United Way of Unicoi County PayPal account at The PayPal site will accept credit card, debit card, or PayPal contributions.

TVA Executive Vice President and Chief External Relations Officer Jeannette Mills explained that all contributions make a difference.

“In the spirit of public power, we are honored to partner with local power companies to address the unprecedented challenges facing those we serve,” Mills said. “TVA has a mission of service to make life better for the people of the Valley and providing these funds to address immediate needs is one way we can help ease the burdens on families and communities.”

To donate to the United Way of Unicoi County’s COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, please visit For additional information about TVA, see