The United Way Tar River Region celebrated its upcoming 70th anniversary with its 2021 United Way Campaign Kick-Off and Car Giveaway on Thursday at Davenport Autopark.

All United Way donors who contributed at least $100 were entered into a drawing to win a free lease on a 2021 Honda Accord. Cummins Rocky Mount Engine Plant retiree Loretta Woodard was the winner and took home the Accord on a lease for one year or 12,000 miles.

Donations are critical to supporting and sustaining the many programs provided by the 24 United Way Community partners, campaign Co-Chairwoman Jackie Lewis said.

“There were over 5,720 youth and families who were impacted by United Way programs that encouraged lifelong success,” she said. “Through United Way programs, there were 2,232 people in our community that received services geared toward improving their physical and mental well-being. Also through United Way programs, 52,591 lives were given hope and tools to live independently. Our success could not have happened without the support of many of you.”

United Way Tar River Region Executive Director Ginny Mohrbutter said United Way donors have the opportunity to be part of something bigger than themselves and to be part of a collective effort through United Way to foster positive change in the community.

“Donations are like an investment in our local citizens — helping individuals, children and families in three key areas: education, health and income self-sufficiency,” she said. “In just the past 10 years, we have fundraised and invested $13 million in our community through important nonprofit programs, ensuring it goes where the needs are the greatest and the impact most profound.

“Each year, our United Way mobilizes over 6,000 donors, 250 volunteers, 100 giving campaigns and various community development projects and partnerships with the end goal to provide quality of life support to local citizens,” she said.

Campaign Co-Chairman Rick McMahon closed out the event by thanking all the United Way campaign donors.

“Your support is the bridge from despair to hope for so many,” he said. “As always, we need your help to raise $1 million for Nash and Edgecombe counties. With the help of our community, I am confident that we can reach this goal.”