The United Way of Fort McMurray is officially kick starting its 2017 Community Campaign.
On Thursday, the organization was at the Golden Year’s Society, one of their 31 member agencies, where they announced this year’s goal, being set at $7.1 million.
The goal is being called “challenging”, “lofty” and a “must.”
“We all have grandparents, parents, children, nieces, nephews, cousins, and they are all at need of services at one time of another,” said Steve Yatauro, Campaign Chair. “Everybody is somebody’s somebody so that’s why I use the word must because I truly do believe we must find a way to meet this need.”
Yatauro notes the funds will be used to help cover some of their member agencies. This includes the Centre of Hope, Salvation Army, and Stepping Stones Youth Home.
He says their goal will help them cover the basic needs – with every years plan being to collect more to help with different services.
“It represents the need of our community.”
Last year, the campaign goal was set a little higher at $8 million, however, they did come up short, only being able to get around $6.3 million. In fact, the United Way of Fort McMurray is around “20 per cent” under in their goals for the last two years combined.
Yatauro cites the wildfire as a major factor why the campaign struggled last year. He says people who did donate were sending money to agencies like the Canadian Red Cross who were focusing on the recovery.
“Two years ago, our theme for the campaign was it could be me, last year, I think all of us realized – it is me and we were all impacted.”
Different programs are being introduced this year in an effort to raise more money, such as the “Red Menu”. Local restaurants have created a specific menu and will donate 10 per cent of the earnings from this menu.
They’re also doing a “100 Faces of United Way”, giving the public a chance to see some of the individuals who’ve benefited from some of their member agencies.
One of the other plans is to hold a youth talent show, where kids can display their skills and also give funds to different groups-which were donated by different sponsors.
“I think it’s so important to show our youth what the community needs are in a early age and even if they can give whatever amount they can give, that’s going to make a difference.”
Yatauro notes the campaign will run from September 7 – November 17. Donations can be made in person to the United Way or through their website.