United Way kicks off 2020 fundraising campaign

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By Nick Seebruch
United Way kicks off 2020 fundraising campaign
Juliette Labrossiere, Executive Director of the United Way of Cornwall and SD&G during the 2020 virtual campaign kickoff breakfast.

CORNWALL, Ontario – The United Way of SD&G and Cornwall held their annual kickoff breakfast for their 2020 fundraising campaign.

Like many things during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event was different. There was no early morning in person breakfast at the Legion with bacon and eggs, no cheque presentations, but what was the same was the passion for community support.

Juliette Labrossiere, Executive Director of the United Way of SD&G and Cornwall explained how the United Way’s campaign supports 16 agencies and 20 programs in the region and how this year, they have pledged $337,786 in support.

David Booyink, Campaign Chair for the 2020 fundraiser explained that not only financial support, but also volunteering was an important way to support community agencies.

“It makes me fulfilled,” Booyink said. “I wish I could do this in a way to help everybody.”

In addition to the usual needs of local agencies, this year the United Way also had to help with the additional challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic presented to the community. The United Way formed the local Emergency Response Council, helped organize and distribute food baskets for those in need and disbursed $534,000 to community agencies in need of COVID Relief Funding.

The Breakfast did have the traditional community testimonials, this year from Big Brothers/ Big Sisters Cornwall.

Local Big Brother Stephen Douris interviewed Maureen, a single mother with two children who have been in the Big Brothers/ Big Sisters Cornwall program and have benefited from it.

Maureen explained how her son’s Big Brother D’Arcy took her son to Colt’s hockey games, bowling, and taught him the importance of giving back to the community through volunteering. Her daughter’s Big, Carol Ann, has visited her at home frequently during the pandemic and sometimes has spent hours laughing and catching up with her in the yard.

“When I listen to this, I get quite emotional. When the connection is there, I know you can feel it,” said Douris.

“My son has been given healthy male role models. D’Arcy taught him about paying it forward,” said Maureen.

The phone information service 2-1-1 also gave a testimonial during the breakfast.

2-1-1 partnered with the United Way earlier this year to help get information out about the food baskets and the COVID-19 relief funding.

“There will be a big demand this fall, whether it is help with utility bills, or finding clothes for their kids for the winter,” said John Hoyles of 2-1-1.

The need is always there, but to support the United Way’s 2020 campaign donations can be made on their website at https://unitedwaysdg.com/

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