United Way Campaign makes stop in Amherstburg

 

By Joel Charron

The United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County travelled across the County by trolley to kick off its 2012 Campaign in the County, Friday morning.

The trolley made stops in Tecumseh, LaSalle, Lakeshore, Belle River, and Kingsville before finishing in Essex for a barbecue.

Last week, United way kicked off its Campaign in downtown Windsor and announced a campaign goal of $5.1 million, a slight increase from last year’s goal.

The funds raised will support United Way’s three strategic investment priorities: supporting basic needs and independence, positioning kids and families for success and creating thriving neighbourhoods.

According to Dave Hitchcock, vice-president of the United Way Board of Directors, last year 196,000 people accessed help through United Way funded agencies in Windsor/Essex County.

“30,761 of those people were residents of Essex County and received help in County locations,” he said. “This would not have been possible without your support and the hard work of all our funded and collaborated partners.”

 

United Way volunteers, staff and donors join local dignitaries for a photo around the trolley that was parked at Amherstburg town hall. The United Way held a county kickoff Friday, September 21 that included stops in all seven Essex County municipalities.

Hitchcock added for every dollar raised, 83 cents is “invested directly into programs and strategies we fund.”

In 2011-2012, over 3,500 volunteers donated over 500,000 hours of their time to help the United Way and their funded partners.

“We recognize the importance of these volunteers in accomplishing our work,” said Hitchcock.

Mayor Wayne Hurst said the town was “delighted” to have the United Way make a stop in the community.

“The United Way helps families along the way and gives them direction for success,” said Hurst. “By enhancing their quality of life it certainly goes a long way in making our community more stable.”

Hurst noted that Essex County has “always dug deep in our pockets” even though some may have fallen on tough times.

“We care for those who are in need,” said Hurst.

Lisa Raffoul, manager of community engagement said The United Way is committed to building a stronger community, which includes the residents from the County.   The County Engagement team works with partners from across the County to raise awareness of United Way and to strengthen relationships with community members to make the community a better place to live.

“We all play a vital role in making our communities great places to live, work and play,” said Raffoul. “Each community has its own unique strengths and charracteristics and we want to recognize and celebrate that diversity.”

Dallas Gibb, a senior member at the House of Shalom said he is very grateful for the funding United Way gives to the youth group.

“The community would be such a different place without the House of Shalom,” said Gibb. “Thank you for everything United Way does for us. It really goes a long way with me and everyone else at the House of Shalom.”

Gibb said the House of Shalom has given him support and confidence to move forward. Gibb also added that he has met all his best friends at the youth centre.

“Without the House of Shalom, I don’t think I would be able to get up and talk to you today,” stated Gibb.

United Way/Centraide CEO, Penny Marrett said all of the money raised stays in Essex County to “support vital community services.”

“Any donation, big or small will bring us one step closer to reaching our goal,” said Marrett.

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