SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A regional organization dedicated to fighting poverty in Northeast Tennessee was recognized Tuesday.

Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable and Kingsport Mayor Pat Shull issued a proclamation to the Upper East Tennessee Human Development Agency (UETHDA), thanking the organization for almost six decades of continued assistance to communities. The proclamation was made as part of Community Action Month.

Organization leaders say the UETHDA strives to help individuals experiencing hardships and difficulty sustaining themselves without government assistance.

“We’ve had a lot of people since COVID hit that have approached our doors or contacted us through the website, and they have never reached out for assistance before,” said UETHDA Executive Director Tim Jaynes.
“It’s OK. We understand that people are going to struggle. Let us help you get through those struggles and provide the resources that are there.”

Jaynes told News Channel 11 that one way the agency helps people is by creating a plan for them to become more self-sufficient, which may include pursuing an education or building job skills.

The UETHDA has assisted more than 22,000 families.