KINGSPORT, TENNESSEE – United Ways in Northeast Tennessee traditionally band together in June each year for a region-wide “Week of Caring” event. The collaborative project draws over 1,800 individual volunteers and generates over 10,000 hours of service to the community. This year’s events were postponed until the week of September 28, and “Reimagined” under current public health guidelines to prevent spread of COVID-19.
“This year, we asked businesses and community members across the region to ‘Reduce, Re-wear, and Repost,’ said Becca Sutphen, Senior Director of Community Impact. She further explained that to reduce exposure to COVID-19, local United Ways had pivoted the popular event to an online social media campaign and drive for volunteers to find future opportunities on the regional website, www.volunteer-united.org. Previous years’ Week of Caring volunteers were asked to re-wear their vintage T-shirts, and community members were encouraged to post photos on social media under the hashtags #LiveUnitedKPT and #WOCReimagined to highlight the longstanding partnerships that Week of Caring facilitates between local businesses and nonprofits.
A few organizations were able to find socially-distant, outdoor activities to continue with the spirit of the original event. Sutphen added, “In Greater Kingsport, we’re grateful to the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardner Association for helping with a weeding project and conducting some outdoor gardening education with Girls Inc. of Kingsport clients. Additionally, City of Kingsport and Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium employees plan to complete a fence replacement at Small Miracles Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Inc.”
In addition to encouraging volunteers to “Live United” and give back to the community, the United Way of Greater Kingsport (UWGK) is also seven weeks into their annual fundraising campaign. “Our theme this year is ‘United We’re Strong,’” said Danelle Glasscock, Executive Director. “In 2020 we have faced unparalleled challenges. The tough work that will be needed to help communities recover is the very work United Way does every day: we help feed those facing food insecurity; we prepare children for success in school, work and life; we connect those in financial distress with resources to pay bills and stay in their homes. United Way takes the long view and is in it for the long haul, bringing people together to help communities recover, rebuild, and thrive,” Glasscock continued.
The UWGK is reporting a total of $1,477,894.00 raised to-date, or 49.2% of their $3 million goal. Individuals or companies interested in making a donation can do so at www.uwaykpt.org/give. Checks can also be mailed to UWGK, 301 Louis Street, Suite 201, Kingsport, TN 37660, and those with further inquiries may direct them to (423) 378-3409, ext. 14.