United Way breakfast highlights growing need

Image of Nick Seebruch
By Nick Seebruch
United Way breakfast highlights growing need
United Way of SD&G Executive Director Juliette Labrossiere speaks to the crowd at the United Way Breakfast on Thursday, September 9, 2021 with Board President Craig Fuller in the background (Nick Seebruch/ Seaway News).

CORNWALL, Ontario – The United Way of SD&G held their annual fundraiser breakfast on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021 in front of the bandshell in Lamoureux Park.

The event had United Way member organizations on-site to speak with the public about the important work that they do. There was hot food, hot coffee, and some laughs provided by the Questionable Comedians comedy troupe, which included performances from Simon McLinden, Jamie Carr, and Michael Baird.

The event was hosted by Senator Bernadette Clement, who opened the event with an acknowledgement that it was taking place on the traditional land of the Mohawks of Akwesasne.

United Way of SD&G Executive Director Juliette Labrossiere reminded the audience that the services and organizations supported by the United Way were seeing an unprecedented demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve all been affected by the past year, but statistics show that marginalized communities have been affected the most,” she said. “more people have come forward to reach out to us for help just over the past month.”

Labrossiere explained that two families had recently faced homelessness just as their kids were getting ready to get back to school, and that housing in the region remained a pressing issue. Labrossiere stated that in 2019 and 2020 the rate of vacant rental properties in the municipality of South Dundas was zero.

“The United Way is ensuring that we all recover from this pandemic, but we are focusing on marginalized communities first,” she said. “Our organizations depend on us to find the money so they can focus on the work that needs to be done,” she added later.

The United Way Breakfast usually marks the beginning of an intense fundraising season for the organization, and this year is no different, with Labrossiere announcing the return of their much anticipated Wine and Cheese event on Nov. 20. Last year’s Wine and Cheese event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each year, the United Way picks a member of the community to chair their fundraising efforts and this year’s Campaign Chair is Nick Seguin. Seguin, who lost a brother to suicide highlighted the importance of funding mental health resources.

“It is my humble opinion that the pandemic will create a mental health tidal wave in our community,” he said. “The wealth gap is widening and so must our generosity,” he concluded.

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