By Lacy Hilliard
When a faint hint of gold and crimson begins to paint the treetops in Johnson County, you know autumn is upon us and with it; a new United Way campaign gets underway.
The United Way is a national non-profit organization that is unique in that it focuses all resources solely on community-oriented efforts. Johnson County proudly boasts an active United Way chapter, which is operated by a board of local residents that work hard to raise funds and process requests from nearly every local organization imaginable. The Johnson County 4-H, The JC/MC Community Center, The American Red Cross, The Emergency Heating Assistance Fund, The Johnson County Support Center, Legal Aid of Tennessee, and several volunteer fire departments throughout Johnson County are just a few of the local organizations sponsored by the Johnson County/Mountain City United Way.
The goal for the 2014 United Way Fundraising campaign is $35,000, which will be divided and used to fund 15 different local organizations. Several of the organizations currently funded by the United Way wrote letters in support of The Johnson County/Mountain City United Way. Joyce Kidd, Director of the Johnson County Senior Center wrote, The Johnson County Senior Center deems being a recipient of United Way funding as a stamp of approval on our efforts. [Many seniors have said of the Johnson County Senior center] that the center saved their lives! Depression is a common condition in seniors. Please remember that no donation is too small and the senior center is just one example of how the United Way helps seniors. Legal Aid of Tennessee also wrote in touting the works of The United Way; The support of The United Way allows Legal Aid of East Tennessee to provide desperately needed legal services to victims of domestic violence who live in Johnson County. Victims of domestic violence face many barriers as they try to secure their future safety, stability and permanency. Support from the United Way means that our clients can be assured access to the legal system and an experienced attorney to guide them through the process. Jim Shull, Chief of the Neva Volunteer Fire Department said, All members of our department are overwhelmed by the dedication of [the United Way]. Shull went on to say, Our department has been helped in many ways; from getting some new helmets and uniforms to helping with a truck payment. The Firemens Association has also been helped by getting our training facility up and operating which saves each department money since their members no longer have to travel to Nashville for training. Richard Walsh, Director of Johnson County Safe Haven, Inc. wrote Without the help of United Way our program of domestic violence prevention and education would be difficult to continue. Funding from United Way enables Johnson County Safe Haven, Inc. to maintain an emergency shelter where victims of domestic violence can be safe. Charles McQueen, Chief of the Shady Valley Volunteer Fire Department wrote The help the United Way provides to our department helps make it possible for us to continue to be ready for any emergency that may come to Johnson County. Flo Bellamy of the Johnson County/Mountain City Community Center wrote This year, United Way made it possible for us to continue offering Oak Tree Day Camp for children 5-10 years old. At a rate of only $20.00 per child per week with fun activities, meals, and pool passes thanks to United Way, we were able to keep this affordable rate for everyone.
Theres no doubt that The Johnson County/Mountain City United Way promotes good in our community. Please do all you can to help support this charitable organization and remember no donation is too small. Currently, the 40% of the $35,000 goal has been met but the remaining 60% must be raised in order for the United Way to continue its positive works throughout the county.
The United Way Board of Directors, which is comprised of Ruth Ann Osborne, Judy McGuire, Frank Arnold, Flo Bellamy, Priscilla Davis, Tom Neaves, Kathy Poole, Temple Reece, Caroline Roark, RoseEdda Slemp, Bobbie Smith, Leni Smith, and Norma Sutherland are prepared to work tirelessly to promote the success of the organization.
Please visit liveunited.org to learn more about The United Way or to donate.