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February 5, 2022 Observer column
The United Way of Sarnia-Lambton 2021 campaign finished strong, enabling the United Way to fund 30 programs and services throughout the community, including a number of new agencies.
“As we had hoped, we received almost $17,000 between Christmas and New Year’s, which enabled us to reach 94.11% of the $1.75 million goal. We are delighted that the campaign did as well as it did as we recruited several new donors, and more than 200 increased their donation from last year, “said campaign chair Vicky Ducharme.
“We are grateful and appreciative of everybody who donated and volunteered, in 2021. We will never take your generosity for granted and will always make certain we get the best value in our community for your donated dollars and time as possible, “Ducharme stressed.
During the public campaign, 30 local community volunteers reviewed 40 programs and services, studying the community needs, the agency needs, and financial statements to determine where best to invest campaign proceeds.  In the end, 30 different programs in Sarnia-Lambton will receive funding beginning April 1, 2022 including 18 at current levels. Five programs will receive funding for the first time, and two programs who were  previously funded under the short term Critical Service Grants and are now shifting to regular funding.
Unfortunately, five existing programs will receive a decrease in funding while five others will not receive funding at all. “You can imagine, those are not easy decisions to make, “said Jason Killingsworth, the 2021 United Way volunteer President.  Those programs were cut only because we did not have the funding available; each of the programs are excellent, we just had to determine what segment of the population is currrently most in need and what agencies were most in need of funding,” he added.
Killingsworth added that the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton is focussing more of its funding on poverty, and low income related programs and services, as the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the needs in our community, and Killingsworth pointed out that the increasing inflation is having a profound effect on low income families and seniors.
The new programs United Way will be funding include a hearing aid program run through the Salvation Army, rapid housing and housing stabilization program through the John Howard Society, the handyman program through Habitat for Humanity, the warming shelter at Walpole Island First Nations, and a school nutrition/snack program for school aged children.
The three funding priorities is Poverty to Possibility, All That Kids Can Be, and Healthy People, Strong Communities which includes both mental health and seniors’ programming.
Killingsworth recommended anybody wanting to learn more about the United Way, and specifically the programs and services it is now funding to visit the website at  On the front page, and under the  news and events tab, you will find a complete listing of all agencies, programs and funding amounts.
“We will have complete details including contact information and a brief description of each of the agencies once funding begins on April 1, 2022.  I encourage everybody to visit the United Way website frequently; we continually update the site,” he said.
Photo caption:

Habitat for Humanity Handyman Darren Spanier and Jean Vaillancourt, Handyman Supervisor review the handyman job board for February.  The United Way funds handyman program and is one of 30 programs and services that will be funded beginning April 1, 2022.  The Handyman program assists families and seniors with low income with light and preventative maintenance to their homes enabling them to live in their own homes for as long and as safely as possible.