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Bryan County United Way thanks volunteers, sets $175,000 campaign goal
Volunteer of the Year Barbara Kent (left) and Bryan County United Way Director Kristi Cox at Thursday's campaign kickoff. - photo by Photo by Mark Swendra

WATCH a VIDEO of United Way supporters doing a flash mob dance to Pharrell Williams’ hit “Happy" by CLICKING HERE

As a flash mob helped announce this year’s $175,000 fundraising goal, attendees at Thursday’s Bryan County United Way campaign kickoff luncheon at the Richmond Hill City Center, were reminded how well the agency and its volunteers continually serve the community.

With a $25,000 increase over last year’s target, the United Way of the Coastal Empire, Bryan County office, has once again set its sights high for 2017, with fundraising efforts that will last over the next eight weeks.

Local businesses and volunteers alike were thanked by organizers, including United Way Bryan County Director Kristi Cox, who recognized Publix supermarkets and Bryan County Schools as being two of the top 30 donors to last year’s United Way of the Coastal Empire campaign, comprised of Bryan, Chatham, Effingham and Liberty counties.

Barbara Kent was named 2017 Volunteer of the Year for her work securing items for area food pantries, such as Second Harvest, Food for the Soul and Eleos.

“Barbara, we appreciate you so much,” Cox said to this year’s recipient. “The number of lives you have impacted … we cannot even count.”

Upon receiving her award, a soft-spoken -Kent thanked Food Lion for their support.

This year’s campaign chair, Catherine Grant, chief executive officer of ExperCare Urgent Care, stressed the importance of knowing where a person’s hard earned money goes, when deciding to support an agency like the United Way.

The United Way of the Coastal Empire is unique in that every dollar donated goes directly to the programs designated, thanks to the Herschel V. Jenkins Foundation, which stipulates that all administrative costs are paid through that fund.

To contribute or volunteer, call the Bryan County Office of the United Way at (912) 459-4111 or visit their website at

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