By Nathan Ham
High Country United Way and Publix came together on Tuesday for a special event to celebrate a donation of approximately $37,000 from Publix and its associates to the High Country United Way.
Publix employees that wanted to help out simply donated part of their paycheck while the Publix Charitable Foundation would partially match what the associates contributed, making this the largest single contribution to the annual High Country United Way fundraising campaign.
“Publix is known for helping the communities that help support us. Without customers we can’t open our doors. Part of our mission is being responsible citizens in the community and we live and breathe it every day,” said store manager Joel Wise.
Each year, High Country United Way strives to provide any help that they can to struggling individuals in Watauga County and surrounding areas. The organization helped to provide funding for food, shelter and heating assistance as well as healthcare and educational opportunities. With this donation, High Country United Way can continue to support those in need in the High Country.
“It’s a real privilege to be here with Publix. They made a very large impact in a hurry as far as corporate campaigns and they really set a benchmark for giving back to the community so it’s a beautiful thing,” said Johnny Carson, the campaign chairman for High Country United Way. “We do good work and the money is spent very well and we’re seeing results in the community too.”
Right now, High Country United Way sponsors over 30 different programs in the High Country to help those less fortunate. Some of the organizations supported include Habitat for Humanity, Blue Ridge Partnership for Children, Hunger and Health Coalition, Hospitality House and the Community Care Clinic.
“We do a lot of things and feel like we touch a lot of lives. We are always interested in being able to help with things that are needed,” said Fred Pfohl, the chairman of High Country United Way. “The High Country United Way has been going a long time and every year we like to think that we get a little better and a little more representation in the community.”
The community support for High Country United Way continues to grow, but so does the need for help from local citizens.
“Community leaders tell us what the issues are so when people bring us their hard-earned money, we can then pass it on to those programs and agencies that are really addressing the needs that the community has already identified,” said Nancy Reigel, one of the many community volunteers that help the organization.
For more information on High Country United Way, visit their website at highcountryunitedway.org.
Employees of Publix were photographed by High Country United Way staff thanking them for their contributions.