More ‘generous hearts’ required to help United Way campaign

As local agencies struggle to find funds to provide human care services, there is a growing recognition of the importance of the United Way.

After eight weeks of campaigning, the United Way has reached half of its $2 million goal.

“The United Way is the single largest source of stable funding in Central Alberta outside the government,” says Lars Rogers, the 2010 Campaign Chair. Rogers notes that one in three people in Central Alberta need help through services provided by the United Way.

Local agencies, daunted by fundraising prospects in the coming year, expect the government to cut funding by 10%, beyond the $5.1 million hit the non-profit sector took in 2009 due to the loss of the Wildrose Foundation, officials say.

To compound the problem, private donations are decreasing while client needs are on the rise.

With increased need for services, agencies like the Safe Harbour Society for Health and Housing feel the friction between the need to fundraise and their mandate to provide services. Safe Harbour depends on the United Way for 4% of its annual budget.

“Our job is the frontline work, making sure agencies are running,” says Tricia Haggarty, director of business and development for Safe Harbour.

“We spend our time recruiting and training, not looking for money. The bottom line is that individuals accessing services have longer line up and the needs have not gone away.”

Heather Gardiner, CEO of the United Way of Central Alberta, has started to notice an alarming trend — workers at agencies providing services are starting to need the services themselves as they cope with the stress from recession.

“We need a bigger response than we’ve ever seen before,” she says.

Gardiner cautions, however that “If we just throw money at this, it’s not going to change. We need to throw passion. There is no choice but for us to ask everyone to help.”

Funds raised include helping eight clients who have been sexually, emotionally or physically abused receive short-term individualized counselling and preventing 15 people from being evicted from their homes.

“All of this has been done with only $50,000,” says Rogers, results that are “but a fraction of what local agencies are doing each and every day with funds received through the United Way.”

Gardiner insists that the story of human care in Central Alberta is about people, not dollars. Considering the needs of the most vulnerable people in the community, Gardiner says, “We are compelled to ask everyone to open up their hearts and say, ‘I care.’ We can’t go into Christmas without doing that.”

To donate or for more information, call 403-343-3900 or visit www.caunitedway.ca.

Just Posted

2019 Canada Winter Games festival headliners announced

Pop singer-songwriter Scott Helman to headline at 2019 Canada Games festival in Red Deer

Woman steals truck from Ponoka gas station while being fueled

Ponoka RCMP pursued and located the woman in a tree after several other incidents

Red Deer rebounding, hosting AUMA convention

Hundreds of municipal officials gather in Red Deer for the AUMA

Celebrate ‘Alberta Culture Days’ here in Red Deer

Lots of family-friendly activities set for this coming weekend

On the run with Melissa Ray

Red Deer runner talks about her intense running experiences

Video: Flyers new mascot ‘Gritty’ a bearded, googly-eyed terror

The Philadelphia Flyers unveiled their new mascot Monday, and as one would expect of the team that gave us the “Broad Street Bullies,” he’s far from cuddly.

Trump boasts of America’s might, gets laugh at UN

President Donald Trump received an unexpected laugh at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday.

Federal use of A.I. in visa applications could breach human rights, report says

Impacts of automated decision-making involving immigration applications and how errors and assumptions could lead to “life-and-death ramifications”

Veterans Affairs ordered to take second look before supporting vets’ relatives

Liberal government ordered officials to adopt a more critical eye

Ottawa working to iron out kinks in public alert system

The alerts are being credit with saving lives during last week’s tornadoes

Assault charge withdrawn vs. ex-Jays pitcher Roberto Osuna

Former Toronto player agrees to peace bond

UPDATED: Bill Cosby gets 3-10 years in prison for sexual assault

Judge also declared the disgraced comedian a ‘sexually violent predator’

U.S. worker charged after video shows him spitting on customer’s pizza

Jaylon Kerley of Detroit is charged with a felony count of food law violations

Robbery report at outlet mall turns out to be fake: police

Leduc RCMP respond to weapons complaint at premium outlet collection mall

Most Read