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United Way column for Saturday, September 24, 2022
The United Way of Sarnia-Lambton campaign has now officially kicked off, and fundraising representatives are pleased with the process so far.
“We have now reached 25% of our $1.65 million needs target, halfway through our first week of the campaign,“ said Vicky Ducharme, the 2022 Volunteer Campaign Chair. “We have now raised $412,000, and only a few of our employee campaigns have kicked,” she added.
Ducharme said Imperial, the area’s largest employee campaign has been running for a couple of weeks, and has held several special events including grab and go lunches, a kick off barbecue, and other activities including a photograph day which enables employees to get professional photos taken for their social media accounts for a donation, and a joint road race on Thanksgiving weekend with the Sarnia Road Runners.
CF Industries in Courtright have completed all of their campaign barbeques for this year, and will now focus their efforts on the employee pledge drive.  CF Industries will match all employee pledges dollar for dollar.
TransAlta has just completed their golf tournament on Friday, and Pembina Pipeline held their golf tournament earlier in the month. Both TransAlta and Pembina Pipelines will also match all employee donations.
“We are very pleased with the rate of our direct mail so far this year as well,” Ducharme said.   “We have had hundreds of people donate already through the mail and online,” she added.
The 2022 United Way campaign officially kicked off with the Day of Caring on Tuesday.
Close to 150 volunteers participated in this, the 27th Day of Caring in Sarnia-Lambton.  “This is a day in which volunteers from across the city and county come together and preform work at both community agencies, as well as the homes of seniors and the disabled who need work done at their office or home, but unable to afford those costs,” Ducharme said.
Day of Caring volunteers assisted at 18 different job sites from 15 different sponsoring businesses and organizations including Fairwinds Lodge Retirement Residence, Imperial, Enbridge Pipelines, Libro Credit Union, Dow, Lambton College, Shell, TransAlta, Kent, Pembina, INEOS Styrolution, Suncor, RBC Royal Bank, Cabot, NOVA Chemicals and the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch 62 in Sarnia.
Beginning in 1993, United Way of Sarnia-Lambton has recruited volunteers to do jobs ranging from painting, cleaning, gardening and yard work to building wheelchair ramps, decks, storage sheds or minor plumbing installations.  Each year, applications are reviewed, jobs are assessed and individuals having work done have completed a financial means test.

 “By connecting volunteers, area businesses, employees and retirees, this signature, one day community wide event is a day to give time and energy.  Volunteers see those in need in our community and not only get a hands on gratifying experience of helping others but also see exactly how their United Way donated dollars are used for human services right here in Sarnia-Lambton.  Long term relationships between volunteers and clients or nonprofit agencies are often formed because of this event”, said Pamela Bodkin, event co-ordinator.
Bodkin pointed out that the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton was the first United Way in Canada to ever hold a Day of Caring and now are hosted each year in dozens of United Ways across Canada.  “The Day of Caring is another example of United Way donations at work in Sarnia-Lambton,” Bodkin said.
Currently, the United Way funds over 30 programs and services provided by 17 local agencies.  The United Way campaign will run until the end of the year.
Photo Caption:
Robyn Thompson, Karissa khan, Brian Lucas and Erin DaSilva of Ineos Styrolution volunteered for the 27th Annual United Way of Sarnia-Lambton Day of Caring.  The Ineos Styrolution work crew was building a storage shed and general maintenance at a group home operated by the Sarnia and District Association for Community Living, one of 18 job sites in Sarnia and throughout Lambton County to help kickoff the 2022 United Way campaign.