And the winner is …

Betsi JamesBlount, Our Town Eats

Karen Umberger of Marion, Virginia, was selected as this year’s Claude P. Varney Humanitarian Award recipient. Umberger works as a computer room operator at the Marion Food City. She is a member of the American Red Cross Disaster Team, where she has passionately served for the past six years, dedicating more than 1,200 hours annually.

Umberger has been deployed to numerous flood and natural disaster areas, working closely with Red Cross clients in shelters and performing property damage assessments.

Karen Umberger, won the Claude Varney award for volunteer service

She also works fires and other disasters locally, serving on call for 12-hour shifts and typically covering up to three counties. This can necessitate drive times up to an hour to and from calls, which often occur in the middle of the night. Umberger helps Red Cross clients with temporary accommodations, financial assistance and property damage assessments. Her role also requires extensive training and continued education.

“I really appreciate Food City allowing their volunteers the opportunity to enter this contest in order to provide financial assistance to their charity,” says Umberger. “I feel so honored that I was chosen as the recipient of the Claude Varney Award. Red Cross is such a worthy cause and helps so many people. Thank you, Food City!”

Umberger was recognized with an award and a $1,250 contribution on her behalf to the charity of her choice.

Divisional winners: Umberger was one of three divisional winners for the Varney award. Two divisional winners received a plaque and a $750 donation to their favorite nonprofit. They are:

Phillip Drinnon of Morristown, a meat cutter for the E. Morris Blvd. Food City in Morristown. He is a 10-year volunteer with his local Shriners Club and a 5-year volunteer with Scottish Rite. He is a 7-year volunteer with MATS, providing photography and other assistance for concert fundraisers, and a 25-year volunteer with Northside Church, where he serves over 250 hours per year, helping with the church youth group and Vacation Bible School.

Olga McCoy of Calhoun, Georgia, works as a salad bar helper for the Food City in Calhoun. She has dedicated the past 11 years serving local women’s ministries, providing spiritual, emotional and financial support to women in need throughout her community. McCoy invests more than 500 hours annually and has provided a variety of services, including opening her own home to women fleeing domestic violence.

Cake from the Food City bakery to celebrate the ground-breaking for a new store in Alcoa.

Jobs, jobs, jobs: Food City continues to hire for full- or part-time jobs, entry-level or skilled positions. Interested candidates can apply online at or visit any Food City store to complete an application.

Betsi James is special events manager for Food City’s Knoxville and Chattanooga divisions.

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