Member agencies benefit from your donations

As we begin the new year, I want to take some time to celebrate the year-round contributions of United Way’s member agencies. And I also want to say “thanks” to those who dedicate their time and talent to these vitally important social service agencies. This week I will focus on two of our funded agencies – Chatham-Kent Block Parent Program Inc. and Chatham-Kent Family Y.M.C.A.

Chatham-Kent Block Parent Program Inc. is one of the members of the United Way family of agencies whose programs are supported through donations to the annual campaign. This agency helps build a safer community by providing immediate assistance to individuals in distress, through a safety network of 166 residential/rural homes and 11 businesses throughout Chatham-Kent which have been screened by local police services. Contributions are used to offer ongoing personal safety awareness and injury prevention education to our communities’ most vulnerable citizens – our children and seniors. And it’s much more than just a sign in the window!

Kim Lang has been an active Block Parent in Wallaceburg since April of 2004. Kim owns a home which is assisted by Community Living of Wallaceburg. There are several caregivers who assist Kim with the various components of daily living. Kim is a vibrant, energetic and community-oriented woman who loves volunteering for Block Parents – not only as a “safe stranger” in her community – but also at many parades over the years. Kim also attended the organization’s 2012 Annual General Meeting and helped meet and greet delegates at the 2011 Provincial Block Parent Conference which was held in Wallaceburg. Kim and the Block Parent Program have a co-operative, mutually beneficial relationship that is highly valued by each of them.

Chatham-Kent Block Parent Program Inc. relies very heavily on United Way support as alternative sources of funding are quite limited. This agency is currently receiving an annual allocation of $31,453 from United Way. The organization served 2,117 individuals throughout Chatham-Kent during 2011.

The Chatham-Kent Family YMCA was one of six charter members when United Way was established in 1948. When you give to United Way, you are supporting direct and immediate support to individuals and families in Chatham-Kent who otherwise would be unable to afford to participate. Everyone should have the opportunity to join in on YMCA programs and services regardless of their ability to pay. Jenny (not her real name) is a single mom with two small children. She states, “It is a struggle financially to get my kids enrolled in activities. The YMCA has provided us with a subsidy so that my children can participate in programs/swimming lessons and teach them independence.” In addition to that, Jenny admits, “I need some ‘me’ time and if it wasn’t for the Y, I simply wouldn’t have that.”

The Chatham-Kent Family YMCA currently receives $21,612 from United Way to assist with subsidized memberships.

Every Little Bit Counts

Even small change can make a big difference!

As the 2012 year draws to a close, I am reminded of the reality that all gifts – no matter what the size – are gratefully received – especially when they are given from the heart.

United Way was witness to such an act of kindness when Heather Beecroft, Ridgetown Co-Chair and Caress Lee Carpenter were doing their “blitz” of retail establishments in downtown Ridgetown recently.

As they were walking down Main Street carrying their “Change starts here” sign, they greeted Kara Hawthorne and her two-year old daughter, Morgan.

Morgan asked, “Mommy, what does that sign say?” Kara explained that the young women were raising money so that United Way could help a number of people – including children – in the Ridgetown area. With that simple explanation, Morgan exclaimed, “We’ve got change!” and asked her mother if they could donate the left-over change they had received from their lunch.

“It was one of those rare – and heartfelt – moments,” said Caress, “that made the rest of our day!”

United Way officials received a number of larger gifts in the days leading up to Christmas from employee campaigns held at Martinrea Fabco in Dresden and Greenfield Ethanol and Dana Canada in Chatham. A number of additional employee campaigns are still to report in prior to the campaign touchdown on Friday, 2013 JAN 25. United Way remains hopeful that the total of these gifts – coupled with donations from new contributors – will help the organization reach its target of $2,012,000.

With the hope that many of our friends and colleagues have had a safe and restful holiday, it is time to begin thinking of New Year’s resolutions. While it will be important for those who have eaten too much Christmas turkey and sweets to think about fitness memberships and nutrition counselling (I have a number of friends in this business!), I’d like to encourage more of our community’s residents to consider volunteering. Specifically, United Way has a need in the area of fund-distribution. We are now recruiting local residents to participate in the annual citizen review process. Training will be held on Jan. 12. Those interested in helping to determine how United Way funds are allocated to its various agency programs and services are urged to call Helen Heath at 519-354-0430 or email

Freezin for a Reason!

Help raise funds for United Way’s agencies, programs & services by registering online today.   Using the online system, you will be able to ask friends, family, co-workers, etc to help you to help us. To get started click the poster to register yourself as an individual or a team and start your fundraising right away!  You must also download a waiver form that is to be signed and presented on the morning of the plunge.  For further information about the plunge contact 519-628-5456.

Freezin for a Reason Participant Waiver – 2012

United Way Celebrates our Workplace announcements for November 2012

Stacey and Scott Ewing (2102 Campaign Co-Chairs) accept  a donation from DuPont Pioneer employees. 

The total – $43,558.90 – is a 17% increase over 2011 and includes funds raised in special events, payroll pledges, direct contributions and a corporate gift.


The fundraising team at Union Gas make their fantastic achievement announcement to the Community of Chatham-Kent – The total raised includes special events, payroll pledges, direct contributions and a corporate gift.