Last night saw hundreds of local activists celebrate another year of improving lives locally. Hosted at Goodwill Industries by United Way’s Labour United, the annual Labour Appreciation Awards event treated guests to an evening of reflection, good company and a look at what can be accomplished when people work together.
Attendees were united by a passion for the impact of United Way’s New Beginnings Loan Fund (NBLF). This micro-loan program supports women and their children escaping violence at home with loans of up to $500. Loans are used to cover costs for things like moving or storage, home repairs, rent, home security, transportation, legal costs, and providing basic needs for their children. Loan repayments are returned to the NBLF for the benefit of other women who may need help in the future.
The Labour community has rallied behind the New Beginnings Loan Fund, making it a priority to ensure the fund has the dollars needed to support women and children in need and have raised over $18,000 to date.
A special key-note speaker and past United Way Sponsored Employee shared her own tale of domestic abuse, and how United Way funded programs and services helped her escape an abusive situation and start a new life. In particular, her story emphasized the incredible value of programs like New Beginnings Loan Fund and services at Women’s Rural Resource Centre, a county-based service for women and their kids forced to leave their home due to violence.
Themed Love Local, Love Labour, the evening celebrated sixteen award winners for their local activism in areas as diverse as workplace health and safety to environmentalism to pay equity.
The prestigious Images of Hope Award was given to life-time activist and community leader Hector Mclellan. The award is given annually to an individual who demonstrates a lifetime of passionate activism and support for the labour community, and who has contributed substantially to United Way’s mission of improving lives locally.