COLUMN: Day of Caring formally launches Sarnia-Lambton United Way campaign

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The United Way of Sarnia-Lambton campaign has been launched and fundraising representatives are so far pleased with the progress.

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“We have now reached 25 per cent of our $1.65-million needs target, halfway through our first week of the campaign,” said 2022 volunteer campaign chair Vicky Ducharme. “We have now raised $412,000, and only a few of our employee campaigns have kicked.”

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 kickoff 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 has completed all of its campaign barbeques for this year, and will now focus efforts on its employee pledge drive. CF Industries will match all employee pledges dollar for dollar.

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TransAlta completed its golf tournament on Friday, and Pembina Pipeline held its 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.”

The 2022 United Way campaign officially started on the Day of Caring on Sept. 20.

Close to 150 volunteers participated in 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.

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Day of Caring volunteers assisted at 18 different job sites from 15 different sponsoring businesses and organizations. They included 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, Br. 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.

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“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 non-profit 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 in Canada to hold a Day of Caring. Now, dozens are held annually 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.

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