Kristal Jones experienced homelessness and thanks the United Way Peterborough and District for providing support.
“I struggled a lot … the whole team invested in me,” she said.
Jones shared her story as the United Way branch in Peterborough, Ont., launched its 81st annual fundraising campaign — an extension of the three-year campaign announced in 2020 with a goal to raise $5 million by 2023. The campaign on social media includes the hashtag #unignorable.
The campaign breakfast launch at the Healthy Planet Arena on Wednesday morning was the first live campaign event in three years due to the pandemic. Funds raised support 16 area charities and non-profit organizations, focusing on a variety of basic needs.
Rather than announce how much money had been fundraised to date, CEO Jim Russell announced how many people the funds will support: 48,914 individuals in the community.
“We’re raising more for the community; we’re raising more for literacy, for homelessness, mental health,” Russell said during a live interview on Global News Morning Peterborough. “And we really want to remind the community that — people, especially during COVID — are in need. Coming out of COVID and recovering from COVID, there’s pressure on our partner agencies to meet the needs of clients.”
Russell noted their campaign launch is in the middle of a municipal election campaign and candidates should take note.
The United Way on Oct. 5 will host a mayoral candidates debate focusing on homelessness.
“So these issues are top of mind for people — whether it’s homelessness; whether it’s community safety — so we think it is really, really important to remind people that after government, the United Way is the largest funder of social services in our community. And we need to make sure that safety is tight.”
To donate to the United Way Peterborough & District, visit their website.
“It’s important that people realize that the campaign is on and that we’re active,” said Russell. “We’re going to be asking for money — but ultimately what we’re trying to do is to support people that are hurting and suffering. We want to build community so we’re really excited about doing that.”
More to come…
— with files from Tricia Mason, Global News Peterborough