United Way Centraide SDG launched their 2022 fall fundraising campaign with the first annual breakfast in three years on Thursday, September 15, at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 297. Breakfast was cooked and served by the Kinsmen Club of Cornwall.
A statement was read on behalf of MP Eric Duncan, a long-time supporter of our local United Way, who was unable to attend due to observing the ten-day mourning period after the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Other elected officials who attended the breakfast include Mayor Glen Grant, Grand Chief Abram, and Cornwall Councillors Syd Gardner, Elaine MacDonald, and Carilyn Hebert.
“I never imagined under my direction that the United Way SDG would find itself in a position of being able to hand out over a million dollars over the course of one year. But we did it, in fact, we have done it the last two years in a row,” said Craig Fuller, President of the United Way Centraide SDG Board of Directors, proudly referring to their annual report.
While he admitted that some of this funding came from the City of Cornwall’s Social Services Relief Fund and the Government of Canada, the majority of it came from generous local donors.
United Way’s Campaign & Communication Coordinator, Stephanie Lapointe, explained the theme of the campaign: Let’s have a real conversation about poverty, “This past summer, we started a conversation about poverty through a video where we focused on how truly complex and layered it is. It’s bigger than one story. And it’s an issue that requires action on several fronts.”
(If you haven’t seen the video yet, you can check it out on United Way’s YouTube channel.)
To continue the conversation, Nick Seguin, the 2022 United Way Campaign Chair for the second year and the creative force behind the video, moderated a panel discussion featuring four participants with ties to United Way Centraide SDG.
Some major themes from the panel discussion were the importance of kindness when interacting with people experiencing poverty, removing stigma, and how many of us don’t realize how easy it is to slip into poverty. It does not discriminate. There is not only one path to poverty, and the way out is not always simple.
Active community volunteer and former Citizen of the Year, Stephen Douris, shared his personal story of going from being a million-dollar-business owner to living out of his car because of declining mental health.
Geraldine McGowan, Executive Director of Tri-County Literacy Council, shared how she was inspired to help others after the death of her father at a young age left her mother (with only an eighth-grade education) solely responsible for seven children.
Taylor Seguin, Executive Director of Centre 105, talked about the many social challenges his clients are facing at once right now, and how it can make life feel impossible for some.
Erika Randolph, a case manager from Inspire – Community Support Services, shared how many of her clients on ODSP are finding it hard to stretch their payments to accommodate the ever-growing cost of living.
“In this room, everyone of you has done something to make what we have done up until now possible. In this room, we are United against combating poverty, and together we can do more,” said Craig Fuller.
For information on how to donate or get involved with United Way Centraide SDG, please visit their website at https://unitedwaysdg.com/.