Amherstburg praised for contributions to 2011 United Way campaign


By Karen Fallon

Contributions to the 2011 United Way campaign by town employees and various workplaces in the municipality helped the organization reach its goal of $5-million, says Penny Marrett CEO and secretary to the board of directors.

“Certainly we know that the support of residents in Amherstburg was very important in helping us achieve that,” said Marrett. “The municipal employees raised $5,497 and the town of Amherstburg received a certificate of merit for the successful campaign they ran.”

“The workplaces in Amherstburg contributed $128,000 towards our campaign,” said Marrett, who extended “thanks” to everyone involved.

John Toth, Manager, Resource Development for the United Way/Centraide notes that because of the down turn in the economy over the past few years the monetary goal for the United Way has shrunk from $10-million to the present day $5-million.

The County Engagement Team is responsible for initiating the County Engagement Strategy, designed to involve county municipalities, which entails a separate kick-off to the city for the yearly fund-raising campaign.

Toth says that the organization has tried to get away from the concept of it being a city-centered organization by becoming more involved in the county.

This move he says has taken on a “whole new life” and is the direction the organization is now going in.

“The United Way used to be all things to all people and funded many different organizations, whereas, now a days we rely on some of our partners to provide some of those services,” said Toth.

There are now 16-funded program that the United Way supports in the county, which ranges from the House of Shalom, Big Brothers and Big Sisters to the 211 initiative.

Last year 233,000 people accessed services supported by the United Way, which included: after school programs, community gardens and food banks. One-third of these people were from the county.

The Food Security Network, administered by the Unemployed Help Center and supported by the United Way provides food to several non-profit organizations across Windsor and Essex County, including the Amherstburg Food and Fellowship Mission and food bank.

“We will continue to support and expand services to the county,” says Toth.

Councillor Robert Pillon commended Marrett and Toth on the previous years successful campaign.

As a former chair of Amherstburg Community Services, which is supported by the United Way, councilor Carolyn Davies says she is aware of the “good” work done by the organization.

“We depended on you very strongly and the work and support that you gave us allowed a lot of our citizens to have a better life,” said Davies.

“You do a lot of good, I wish you well on your next campaign,” said Pillon, who echoed the sentiment of several council members.

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