2016-uw-regional-kick-off-hosted-by-swva-3758Abingdon, VA (August 18, 2016) – The six United Ways across Northeast Tennessee and the United Way of Southwest Virginia collectively kicked off their campaigns at the 2016 United Way Regional Campaign Kick-Off in Abingdon, VA on August 18, 2016. Hosted by United Way of Southwest Virginia and TriSummit Bank, the event featured a joint keynote by legendary college football coaches Phillip Fulmer (University of Tennessee) sponsored by Mountain States Health Alliance, and Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech) sponsored by Food City.

Each of the United Ways sent out invitations to the event, which served as the only point of entry; however, United Way of Southwest Virginia announced in July that it was hosting a Facebook contest for one volunteer to win two VIP tickets to attend the kick-off and have their photo taken with the two coaches at an exclusive VIP Meet & Greet event. Cathy Bolling, a volunteer with United Way of Southwest Virginia’s Backpacks Unite program at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Tazewell, VA, was the winner of the contest that was open to individuals who volunteer and make a difference in the service area of United Way of Southwest Virginia.

Cathy Bolling’s husband, Randy Bolling, nominated her, and 266 Facebook “likes” to his comment pushed her to win. An excerpt from his comment reads, “When the administrators from the local schools indicated that there were more children that needed the backpacks, Cathy never said no, and always found a way to raise more money and get more volunteers to work in shelving, packing and distributing the food. The program has grown every year to the point where this past year the program provided food backpacks for 235 children every week, for a total of about 9,400 backpack distributions during the school year, which in turn equates to approximately 56,400 meals being provided for the children this past year alone. During the school year, at some point during the day, Cathy works on backpacks in some fashion or another three and four days a week. I think it is a fair statement to say that she is simply known as the ‘backpack lady’ in our town, and this in and of itself is something to be proud of.”

For more details about the event, visit United Way of Southwest Virginia’s website at netnswvarelief.wpengine.com or see the previous press release.