By Victoria Gray, The Tribune
Friday, September 21, 2012
WELLAND - A far cry from the days of when the Local United Way agency would ask for upwards of a million dollars to aid dozens of local non-profit programs and organizations, the south Niagara branch Thursday night kicked off its fall fundraising campaign with a goal of attaining $600,000.
Since those days, industries once relied on for a huge chunk of campaign dollars have closed shop or moved elsewhere. People have lost jobs.
And agencies they once turned to, too, have had to cut programming, merge or call it a day.
John Crocco, United Way of South Niagara’s newest campaign chair, said this about the 2012 goal: “The focus is on our community and on the 17 organizations, and it’s an opportunity for members of the community to come together and give what they can for each other.”
The local United Way kicked off its campaign with a gala at Casa Vostra Ristorante, where it was announced this year’s theme is “Why I give.”
The campaign is meant to raise funds and awareness in the community of the many needs and issues the 17 organizations supported by the United Way try to tackle.
“We want people to know that it starts with them,” said former branch president Peter Papp. “Your donation is the start or something great for someone in need and it goes directly to this community.”
This year’s campaign is also focused on encouraging people to donate something more important than money — the organization wants time.
Charitable organizations always need volunteers and they know that not everyone has extra money to give, but they do know everyone has time.
Jodi Mcintosh has cerebral palsy. She can’t speak very well and her mobility is severely limited, but she donates her time to the United Way doing office work.
“In spite of everything that has happened in her life, she still volunteers,” United Way representative Ad Lewis said. “I think sometimes we take everything we have for granted, but you know if she can do it, so can we.”
BY THE NUMBERS
2011 funds raised
2010 funds raised
2009 funds raised