The United Way of Greater Kingsport has kicked off its annual campaign with an ambitious goal of $3 million after a year that “put a strain on many in our community,” said Emily Merritt, United Way director of communications and education.
“It challenged the health of our friends and families, the education of our children, the financial stability of countless households, and increased daily risks for our senior population,” said Merritt. “At the beginning of 2020 none of us were prepared for what we would confront, and no one knew how many in our community would need our help.
“Faced with a once-in-a-generation challenge, the United Way of Greater Kingsport stepped up. United Way staff, donors, volunteers and our entire community came together immediately to raise funds and address critical needs. We helped our neighbors who were most impacted by the global pandemic and economic downturn get the relief and support they needed.”
Now it’s time to build on that effort. This year’s campaign theme is “United We’re Strong,” but it is more than just a slogan. “It’s the power, endurance and spirit of our entire community,” said Chad Austin, chair of this year’s campaign, which runs through November.
“We’ve been through a lot in 2020, and we still face significant uncertainty in the coming months and years. But this moment is also an opportunity to build a better future — one that includes every person in our community,” said Merritt. “No matter what happens in 2021, our commitment to the health, education and financial stability of every person in our community remains.”
That requires a community effort in support. We all win when residents join together to help children succeed, promote self-sufficiency, ensure health, safety and stability to those in need, help the elderly, back efforts to stamp out drug abuse, and in many other ways work for the betterment of the community.
The United Way in turn distributes those donations to more than 30 member agencies, which work to create a better life for thousands of area residents by tackling root-cause issues. Among them: the American Red Cross, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Club, CASA (which advocates for abused and neglected children), the Children’s Advocacy Center, Contact Concern, Friends in Need Health Center, Hope Haven Ministries, Hope House and Literacy Council of Kingsport.
There are many more, and the work they do would stop if not for you and the thousands of others who give to the United Way to keep these organizations going. The United Way literally touches thousands of people in our community — not only those who live, work and play in Kingsport, but throughout the Tri-Cities. And that could not be possible without the generous donations and countless volunteer hours spent promoting the yearly fundraising campaign.
If you would like to make a donation, you can do so at uwaykpt.org/give or text “uwaykpt” to 269-89. Checks can also be mailed to UWGK, 301 Louis St., Suite 201, Kingsport, TN 37660.
For more information call (423) 378-3409, ext. 14.