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United Way column for Saturday, October 1, 2022
The first official week of fundraising is now complete, and the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton has raised so far $430,000, which represents 26% of the $1.65 million needs target.
“Currently, the campaign is right on target compared to where we have been in previous years,” said Vicky Ducharme 2022 United Way campaign chair. “We always seem to get off to a great start with our United Way and Sarnia-Lambton, and as always, we are hoping that momentum is going to carry us forward to the end of the year,” she added.  Ducharme went on to say that she expects the overall campaign will be at 30% or more by Thanksgiving weekend.
“We are just now preparing follow up letters to send out to hundreds of donors who have given in previous years but not yet this year.  The Imperial employee campaign is well underway and more employee campaigns are just kicking off,” she said.
Reliance Home Comfort, kicked off their campaign on Wednesday with a breakfast and will  match all employee contributions dollar for dollar.  Reliance has a number of events planned during their week-long United Way campaign including prize giveaways, and other incentives to donate.  The Sarnia location is one of the top locations company wide for their United Way support.  “There is a real history of support at Reliance among the employees.  We are very grateful,” she said.
The United Way campaign in Sarnia-Lambton commenced last week with the annual Day of Caring which brought together 150 volunteers from across Sarnia-Lambton to help out at the at homes of seniors and people with disabilities as well as several agencies who needed general maintenance, cleaning, or painting completed.
Ducharme said right now the focus for the United Way is to provide as much support as possible to the employee campaigns as they kick off across our region. Many of the employee campaigns have already had fundraising events including kick off barbeques and breakfasts.  Additionally, three golf tournaments were held in the past three weeks.  TransAlta, Pembina, and most recently the Imperial Gold Coat were held, each raising money and awareness for the United Way.
To date, almost $200,000 of the total raised was raised through direct mail, and online contributions. Ducharme said that the direct mail and the number of people who donate online through the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton website has been increasing over the past few years, and has seen a big uptick since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.  “Our addressed mail and those donors who give through our website is becoming increasingly important to us as more people in our area are retiring, or working from home,” Ducharme said.
“We expect to be mailing roughly 800 follow up letters next week, all to those individuals who are not associated with an employee campaign and who have donated in the past, but have not yet in 2022.
The LCBO point-of-sale campaign has already begun.  Last year, this represented $33,000 raised by LCBO employees, and customers who gave $2, $5, or $10 at the till when they paid for their purchase.  “We are very grateful to everyone who donates at the till, and I can assure all donors and employees, that those contributor dollars do make their way back to our community.
Photo Caption:
Ashwin Chandran and Jordan Bressette of Reliance Home Comfort enjoy their United Way kick off breakfast to commence the week-long United Way employee campaign at Reliance in Sarnia.   Reliance will match all employee contributions dollar for dollar, and will hold games and prize giveaways all week and wrapping up the campaign with a crockpot lunch. Reliance Home Comfort employee’s support of United Way in Sarnia is one of the top locations in the company.