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United Way begins fundraising drive

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Thomas Moton releases confetti Thursday at the United Way Campaign kickoff event at Brown Auditorium at Nash Community College.

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By COREY DAVIS
Staff Writer

Friday, August 18, 2017

The United Way Tar River Region is again looking for community support in raising money to help the less fortunate in the Twin Counties.

Several local people from different sectors in the community came out to help the agency kick off its 2017 fundraising campaign Thursday at Nash Community College’s Brown Auditorium. The United Way Tar River Region’s goal is to raise $1.2 million to help the needs in Nash and Edgecombe counties.

Ginny Mohrbutter, executive director of the United Way Tar River Region, said the community has assisted in helping the agency reach and exceed its target total in the past few years and hopes the same will happen this year. Last year, Mohrbutter said, there were more than 6,000 youths who were impacted by United Way programs and more than 5,000 local residents received services geared toward improving their physical and mental well-being.

In addition, United Way served more than 25,000 meals to fight hunger, and 40,000 lives were given hope and tools to live independently, she added.

“Our United Way is making great strides toward improving the lives of thousands right here in Edgecombe and Nash counties,” Mohrbutter said. “But we cannot do it alone. We need your support to sustain the many programs provided by our 24 United Way community partners that are on the front line helping those in our area that need it the most.”

Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant has been one of the largest campaign donors among companies for the past several years. Tim Engelking, external quality leader for Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant, said Cummins is proud to have donated more than $460,000 during the 2016 campaign and had a 90 percent participation rate.

“From the Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant leadership and our employees, we want to send a challenge regardless of who you represent in the local business community, local organizations or as invididuals to rise to the challenge and invest in a community that needs all of us to ensure a more promising future,” he said.

The Rev. Dr. Haywood Parker, board chairman of the United Way Tar River Region, had the crowd stand up and hold hands in prayer to show unity against the turmoil happening around the nation — especially the recent events that took place in Charlottesville, Va. where a white supremacist rally turned violent.

“We would be remiss if we didn’t at some way seize this moment to speak about what is going on in our nation and to show some solidarity toward what is right and what is good,” Parker said. “Right now, our nation and our communities are experiencing a lot of pain, a lot of unrest and the evil forces of darkness are trying to snuff out the light of goodness. But as an agency and community, our moral compass and our moral consciousness speaks to us strongly that we have the opportunity to be the change that we want to be.”

Also during the campaign kickoff event, Diana LeFiles, vice president of marketing and communications for the United Way Tar River Region, spoke about the traveling photo exhibit called Snapshots of Success that features United Way program recipients. She added this is the 10th year the agency is celebrating the Snapshots of Success.

Among the fundraising events coming up in the future will be the Honda giveaway by Davenport Autopark. All United Way donors contributing at least $100 will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a free lease of the vehicle for a year or up to 12,000 miles.

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