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United Way campaign begins

Now in its 68th year of existence, the Unicoi County United Way is gearing up for another fundraising campaign.
The organization held its kickoff breakfast on Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center with a host of business owners, community leaders, organizations, school officials and high school students ready to tackle the 2016 fundraising campaign.
“Each year, we have a kickoff campaign,” said Lee Brown, president of the Unicoi County United Way. “It is a way to get our community started fundraising for the upcoming calendar year. We’ve invited all of our businesses, industries and leaders from the community to be part of the kickoff campaign each year and we’ll get started and run this thing for about two months.”
Unicoi County United Way has the goal of $105,000 set for the calendar year and Brown said that the organization has been fortunate to meet and exceed that goal each year.
“The goal was the same last year,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t expect anything less this year. ”
For the 2015 year, the Unicoi County United Way had the goal of $105,000 and raised $132,000.
Unicoi County High School senior Laura Rogers opened up the ceremony and was joined by other high school students who recited a prayer and pledge of allegiance to the flag before attendants were treated to a breakfast served by volunteers.
Different organizations across Unicoi County receive the funding raised by United Way, including Habitat for Humanity of Unicoi County, the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center, the local library, Unicoi County Family YMCA, the Unicoi County Little League, Second Harvest Food Bank and CASA of Northeast Tennessee.
The Unicoi County chapter of the United Way is just one of 1,800 groups spanned across 40 countries and territories. United Way has raised over $5 billion each year and has 2.6 million volunteers working with different agencies across the world.
According to the United Way Worldwide website, the United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit organization engaging people from all walks of life in nearly 1,800 communities. The organization has many partners including global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, civic and faith organizations, along with educators, labor, health organizations and local governments.
Brown said the Unicoi County United Way is always looking for people in the community to help support the local agencies.
“You can mail or drop off a contribution here at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center,” Brown added. “People can make a pledge or check out to the United Way and we’re always looking for more people to get involved. You can take that donation and spread it over 20 agencies that serve our community.”