United Way launches region’s most important fundraising campaign
United Way Elgin Middlesex just launched the region’s most important fundraising campaign, rallying neighbours, friends and colleagues to pull together, now more than ever, as our community continues to face uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last week, thousands answered the call to buy a meal for a neighbour in need at the organization’s first virtual 3M Harvest Lunch & United Way Campaign Launch. Instead of gathering in person at Budweiser Gardens, every $10 ticket sold bought a meal for a local youth, senior or family, safely prepared and delivered by local businesses to United Way partner agencies in the region. Final numbers are still coming in, but indicators say the event is on track to smash all prior records for ticket sales.
“If you’re able, please give what you can. Every donation, no matter the size, helps ensure United Way funded programs and services are there when people in our community need them most.”
It’s a fitting start to the United Way 2020 Campaign at a time when the stakes couldn’t be higher.
This region has the third highest child poverty rate in Canada. One in five kids live in a home that struggles to pay rent and put food on the table. In some neighbourhoods, it’s one in four. Add COVID-19 and we’re all feeling more vulnerable, socially isolated and fearful for the future.
“We know that this crisis is going to push some people further into the margins,” says Kelly Ziegner, President & CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex. “People already facing barriers—poverty, hunger, mental illness, and social isolation—need our help more than ever.”
“We’re calling on everyone to show their local love,” Ziegner adds.
This year, United Way’s goal is to mobilize the community to fight deepening poverty and mental health issues due to the COVID-19 crisis, issues that were already unignorable before the pandemic hit.
South London Neighbourhood Resource Centre, for example, reports that 1,000 people per month are accessing their emergency food cupboard and other basic needs supports. This is 10 times the number of visitors pre-COVID.
Requests for mental health support are also up. The Canadian Mental Health Association has seen a 43% increase in calls to The Support Line since the pandemic started, many from seniors who don’t have supports in the community and call every day just to talk to someone.
“If you’re able, please give what you can,” says Trevor Squires, United Way 2020 Campaign Chair and Chief ChangeMaker & General Manager, McCormick Canada. “Every donation, no matter the size, helps ensure United Way funded programs and services are there when people in our community need them most.
Hear real talk about the need in our community and learn about this year’s Campaign plans with Kelly Ziegner, President & CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex, Trevor Squires, United Way 2020 Campaign Chair and Chief ChangeMaker & General Manager, McCormick Canada, and Penny Wise, President of 3M Canada.