United Way of East Tennessee Highlands officials say giving a gift to its annual fundraising campaign is a good way to kick off the holiday season.
Leslie Salling, president and CEO of the local United Way, said donating to her organization is also a way to direct those charitable dollars to a number of worthy causes.
“If someone doesn’t know where to donate or wants to give to multiple programs with one donation, United Way is a good choice,” Salling said. “We support programs that strengthen the health, education and financial stability of the community. “
She said all United Way partner agencies “are fully vetted so donors can be sure their donation is being used effectively and efficiently.”
Respond to a regional need
The United Way campaign hopes to raise $ 1.25 million, which is the same goal the organization set for itself last year. The 2020 campaign actually raised $ 1.5 million – an achievement campaign officials hope to repeat this year.
United Way of East Tennessee Highlands serves more than 200,000 residents in Washington, Carter, Johnson and South Sullivan counties. It collects and allocates funds to more than 40 programs which are administered by itself and 21 partner organizations in the region.
“We support programs that focus on developing good character in children and giving them the self-confidence they need to thrive,” said Salling. “We’re giving back to programs that give our seniors a support system so they don’t feel alone, especially during the holidays.
She said United Way supports “programs that provide meals to families who cannot afford them during the holidays and throughout the year.”
Lester Lattany, who helps lead this year’s fundraising campaign, said a United Way donation would help programs and services “that are so vital to our community.” He said that means “a lot of people are being helped” in the United Way’s service area.
“We are asking people to consider the impact that a single donation to Centraide can have on this community,” said Lattany.
Ask for community support
Lattany said COVID-19 has demonstrated why United Way and its partner agencies are so important in helping those in need. He said the pandemic had created “particular challenges” for businesses and community organizations.
And this has led many companies to refocus their contribution to worthy causes.
Salling said last week that United Way is fundraising from companies that still run their internal fundraising campaigns.
“Once these are collected, we will be at about 60% of our target,” she said. “So we still need the community’s help to reach our goal.
Donations can be made by simply going to the United Way website at unitedwayetnh.org/ and clicking on the yellow “Donate” button at the top of the page.
United Way will also partner with Food City to host the 15th Annual Celebrity Bagging Event in support of its annual fundraising campaign. The event will take place Tuesday at Food City stores in Johnson City, Jonesborough, Gray, Elizabethton and Piney Flats from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.