United Way collects fans, host Day of Action

It’s the cliché many use to start conversations during a sweltering summer.

“Is it hot enough for you?”

For some in Blount County without air conditioners or fans, it’s dangerously hot.

That is why on June 20 United Way of Blount County will be accepting donations of fans and air conditioner units to be distributed through the Blount County Community Action Agency.

Kay Garrison, program director with the Blount County Community Action Agency, is working with United Way to ensure those in need get relief from the heat.

“After two weeks of 90 degree temperatures, we’ve received requests on a daily basis, and it’s only going to get worse,” Garrison said.

United Way hopes to collect 100 fans and air conditioners through this one-day event.

Dubbed “Project Cool Breeze,” the effort is part of United Way of Blount County’s Day of Action, which also includes the launch of the organization’s new website and an open house for its newly revamped Nonprofit Training and Resource Center.

The new website, which will launch on June 20, is liveunitedblount.org. It has several new features, including an improved blog, interactive volunteer log-in section, and downloadable content.

United Way of Blount County President and CEO Michelle Hankes hopes liveunitedblount.org becomes the one-stop shop for information about area nonprofits.

“Our new site has all a person needs to learn about United Way and how to make Blount County stronger through giving, advocating, and volunteering,” said Hankes.

The organization’s current website, unitedwayblount.org, will remain active and will mirror the new website’s content when it goes live Friday.

That day, United Way of Blount County’s Nonprofit Training and Resource Center will host an open house from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to unveil its new technologically advanced library, including a computer terminal dedicated to researching and writing grants.

Chairman of the Nonprofit Training and Resource Center Ken Smither said, “The center has experienced tremendous growth in the last several months through collaborations with the Blount County Chamber Foundation and the Center for Strong Communities at Maryville College, and we’re planning on expanding the center’s services even more through collaborations like these.”

During the open house, the center will present information promoting its new services, and refreshments will be served.

For more information about United Way of Blount County, call 865-982-2251 or visit unitedwayblount.org.

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