The people of Sarnia-Lambton have taken their support for the United Way to new heights.
The umbrella fundraising agency hit its target of $1.95 million today and expects to surpass the $2 million mark shortly as employee campaigns continue trickling in.
That’s an all-time record for generosity, said United Way executive director Dave Brown.
“People have really come together,” he said. “They know the economy is sluggish in our area, and they know there are fewer people working this year. They really rose up.”
Twenty-two local agencies rely on the United Way to maintain services, with the primary emphasis on seniors, families and children.
Reaching the annual fundraising target on Dec. 2 was also the earliest in recent memory, Brown said.
“People seem to understand that we’re not just throwing money at agencies, that we’re investing in them, with measurable outcomes,” he said.
“And I think people like the fact the money stays local.”
It’s been nearly 20 years now since the local United Way failed to achieve its financial target. Following hard times in the early 1990s the focus was shifted from overall dollars to donors.
“We realized that every donor is important … and that really turned the tide for us,” Brown said.
Campaign chairperson Richard Kelch called the local commitment inspiring.
“Companies and individuals who haven’t finished their campaigns, or pledged yet, still have the opportunity to do so,” he added.
For a list of agencies funded, or to see audited financial reports, visit www.theunitedway.on.ca