United Way campaign tops $1.55 million

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Dec 15, 2017 at 4:44 PM

Editor’s note: The text people may use to make donations to the United Way’s campaign has been corrected in this article to “UWOWC.”

Washington County’s United Way campaign on Thursday announced it has received $1,553,759 in contributions pledged toward the $1.8 million 2017 campaign goal.

With $246,241 still to go, Campaign Chairman Michael Estes said the campaigning will continue for a few more weeks.

Estes and United Way President and CEO Jerome Julian expressed appreciation to everyone who has contributed to the annual fundraising drive for 17 local health and human service agencies and to the campaign team members who have brought their pledges in.

“We are encouraged by the continued support of the community's citizens and companies to help their neighbors,” Julian said. “The volunteer campaign team and community have been very responsive.”

Julian noted this year’s goal is higher than it has been in recent years and came during a season when many people were giving to relief efforts that followed a series of natural disasters.

With only a few weeks remaining to raise the remainder needed to meet the goal, Estes said, “We need your help. Change doesn’t happen alone. Together we can do more than any of us can do on our own.”

Stressing the importance of the final push for donations, he said, “We are grateful for the generous support of companies and individuals that have joined us in our work by donating to make a difference in our community, but there is still work to be done.

“It is vital to us that we communicate to the public how important every donated dollar is to someone in need.”

Julian wrapped up Thursday’s final campaign report meeting with a review of a long list of accomplishments the service agencies have achieved over the past year and concluded by saying, “That is what your work and your giving has done this year.”

Those who wish to help can make donations of any amount by texting UWOWC to 40403, online at unitedwayofwashingtoncountytn.org, or by calling the United Way office at 423-282-5682.

Julian’s list of 2017 service agencies achievements supported by United Way donations included the following:

Adult Day Services, a day program for seniors and disabled adults in need of safe and supervised environment to spend their days, initiated a reading initiative for its participants and partnered with the nonprofit One ACRE cafe to give them an opportunity for volunteer service.

ARC of Washington County, a regional provider of services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, led its clients in fundraising activities that allowed them to purchase stuffed animals for firefighters to give to children impacted by fires and helped a nonverbal young boy develop social skills he now used to talk and play with his peers.

American Red Cross of Northeast Tennessee partnered with Johnson City firefighters to distribute smoke alarms to city residents and establish a permanent disaster shelter location at a city church

Boys and Girls Club of Johnson City/Washington County launched a Trauma Informed Care program with a quiet room and counselors to aid children experiencing emotional upset.

Coalition for Kids, an after school and summer enrichment program for Johnson City children with needs identified by their schools, opened a STEM lab to hone the children’s science technology, engineering and math skills and launched a ninth grade mentoring program to continue the children’s involvement with the program after middle school.

Contact 211, a telephone hotline for anyone in crisis or in need of resource referrals, purchased new technical equipment and introduced new texting options.

Family Promise, a network of about 75 area churches providing shelter, housing and a full range of support service for homeless families with children, helped 26 families  return to permanent housing.

Frontier Health, a regional mental health service provider, began offering new offsite winter programing to compliment its teen Adventure Program for Greenwood Challenge Ropes Course.

Girl Scouts of the Appalachian Council expanded to include 738 Scouts and adult members.

Girls Inc., an after school and summer program for girls, implemented anti-bullying and anti-smoking initiatives and took part in a number of community service projects.

Johnson City Schools Shoe Fund purchased 100 new pairs of shoes for children in need and provided athletic shoes for students who would not have been able to participate in team sports without them.

Keystone Dental Care, a nonprofit clinic with income-based sliding scale fees for people without insurance, performed more than 2,000 procedures valued at more than $700,000.

Personal Support Services, a program of the Northeast Tennessee Human Resource Agency, provided in-home assistance and services for seniors and others at risk of nursing home placement.

Salvation Army of Johnson City served more than 30,000 hot meals to people in need.

Sequoyah Council of Boy Scouts collected and donated more 20,000 food items for local pantries and food banks.

Volunteer Center, a service of the local United Way office, matched area volunteers with agencies that need their help.

Washington County Schools Shoes and Clothing Fund provided shoes and clothing to 325 students in need.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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