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Sarnia Observer column for Saturday, November 6
The United Way of Sarnia-Lambton passed the $700,000 mark, and reached the 40% mark of a $1.75 million campaign goal.
“We just hit the halfway mark in terms of timing, and have two months left in the campaign,” said campaign chair Vicky Ducharme.
Ducharme said that the employee campaign at Imperial is doing very well, and are at almost 92% of their $418,000 goal.  Imperial Annuitants are also donating, adding to the Imperial total.
“Both Shell Canada and NOVA Chemicals have kicked off their campaign, but we don’t have any figures in from them, so at some point soon, we expect to have a big increase to our campaign thermometer,” Ducharme said.
Ducharme added that the United Way has just completed mailing out reminders to those donors, largely retirees, whose former company will match dollar for dollar but have not yet contributed this year.  Ducharme wanted to remind retirees, that matching  deadlines are approaching, and many are in mid to late November.  Among the match deadlines are from companies such as Shell Canada, ARLANXEO, NOVA Chemicals and Cabot Canada.
Suncor, another company that matches employee contributions dollar for dollar have been running their campaign throughout the year, and have just completed their annual parking lot auction. The parking lot auction is very successful, as employees bid to have a preferred spot at the parking lot at Suncor. This year’s auction raised a record $33,650, which Suncor will match.  Thirty seven vehicle parking spots were up for auction, plus one bicycle parking location.
Ducharme said the 2021 United Way campaign is lagging last year’s progress, and as a result, she is getting a little more concerned with that difference. “On a positive note, all but one of the large industrial campaigns are still running, and we do anticipate a huge uptick in the next week or two, “she said.  Styrolution is the first employee campaign to wrap up in 2021.  She also pointed out several donors have increased their contribution, and several new donors have supported the campaign for the first time.
Later in the month, Ducharme said that the United Way will once again partner with the Dante Club and provide for sale three different frozen food options. Libro Credit Union will once again sponsor the event.
“We are in the final stages of negotiating with the Dante Club, and we look forward providing frozen Lasagna, Pasta Al Forno, and Rigatoni al Forno; rigatoni pasta with Dante rose sauce, crumbled mild Italian pork sausage,; each available in two sizes.  Details on pricing and how to order will be announced soon.  Ducharme said the Lambton Cattleman are already on board as a sponsor in addition to Libro Credit Union.  “This is another example of the support we have from our agricultural community, and we want them to know how grateful we are for their support,” Ducharme said, adding, “this is a great way to stock your freezer before the Christmas holidays”.
The financial campaigns are now all getting underway as well, including all of the charter banks, local credit unions, and insurance companies. “Many of these financial employee campaigns are run centrally in the companies’ head office communities.  All employee contributions do come back to Sarnia-Lambton.
Ducharme pointed out that many of the insurance companies will also match their employees dollar for dollar and those matching dollars also forwarded back to this community.
The United Way campaign will run until December 31, 2021, and supports 20 local agencies that provide 40 local programs and services.  To donate, please visit www.theunitedway.on and follow the links.
Photo Caption:
Stu Powell of Suncor and Heather Acton, Suncor employee parking lot auction co-ordinator, survey the 38 parking spots (including a bicycle parking spot) up for auction to support the United Way of Sarnia-Lambton. More than $33,600 was raised by this year’s parking lot auction, a new record, supporting the United Way which will be matched by Suncor. The annual auction is a tradition at Suncor in Sarnia.