The 2008 United Way campaign kicked off with a breakfast rally at the Airport Hilton. As soon as the music and cheering stopped, a large group of business volunteers donned their Live United T-shirts instead of their business jackets. Area businesses and community helpers volunteered for the annual United Way Day of Caring.
Many of the business leaders took the day off to do volunteer work at area non-profit agencies as part of the annual Day of Caring.
Following the breakfast, volunteers were dispatched by Day of Caring committee chair Regina Jennings to different locations throughout Blount County to help at various non-profit agencies. There was painting, cleaning, building, sorting, collecting and various other jobs on the non-profit agencies’ “To Do” list.
The damp weather made painting -- one of the most requested needs -- difficult, so a “rain date” was scheduled as a make-up day for some of the agencies.
P.J. Hicks, minister of outreach and involvement at Maryville Church of Christ, had a simple reason for volunteering his time. “To be part of the community and make a difference,” he said.
Jeff Garrett with Volunteer Turf said he was volunteering his time because he wants to make the community better for his children once he becomes a father. “We walk across this world, and we only take,” he said. “It’s all about giving back.”
Jennings said she’s been supporting United Way for 20 years. “It’s important to give back to the community that has been good to you,” she said.
The theme for the United Way and the United Way Campaign this year is Live United, which stresses Advocacy, Giving and Volunteering.