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United Way sets goal of $1.762 million for 2020-21 fundraising campaign

The United Way announced their 2020-21 fundraising campaign goal on Sept. 25. The announcement was made virtually through Facebook by 2020 Campaign Co-chairs Martin and Kathryn Ritsma (pictured).

LISTOWEL — Using a combination of new technology and old-fashioned community spirit, United Way Perth-Huron (UWPH) announced the organization’s goal of $1,762,200 for the 2020-21 campaign.

The announcement was made virtually through Facebook by 2020 Campaign Co-chairs Martin and Kathryn Ritsma and Executive Director Ryan Erb. Perth and Huron residents were encouraged to purchase lunch at their favourite local restaurants and join UWPH for the announcement.

“So far, 2020 has been unlike anything most of us have seen, with added challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Martin Ritsma. “It has changed how UWPH supports the community, but new opportunities also come out of a crisis. We’re working on different ways to connect with donors across the region and share the important work UWPH does in local communities.”

The goal announced Sept. 25 reflects the growing local need. Last year, UWPH helped over 39,000 people in Perth-Huron and the needs are even greater this year. During the past six months of the pandemic alone, UWPH provided funding to 41 programs and services along with helping almost 550 individuals and families through the Urgent Needs Fund for Individuals (UNFI).

As UWPH enters the annual campaign season, the UNFI is a major focus of the organization’s fundraising efforts. Designed to support local residents in a time of crisis, the fund covers essentials such as rent, groceries and medication; keeping those in need from slipping deeper into poverty, shame and despair.

Alongside support for the UNFI, UWPH is continuing to work with the North Perth Community Committee supporting the 18 existing UWPH partners providing programs and services in North Perth.

“The committee is looking forward to connecting virtually with people across North Perth during the campaign,” added North Perth Community Committee Chair Shelley Blackmore. “Like most communities, North Perth is facing tremendous challenges. With the help of UWPH, and all our great local volunteers and donors, I’m confident we’ll be able to raise what’s needed to help even more people in North Perth have a brighter future.”

“The goal of $1.762 million is ambitious,” acknowledged Erb. “But it reflects the needs in the community. Vulnerable individuals in North Perth and across Perth-Huron have been deeply affected by COVID-19, effects that will continue for months to come.

“Additionally, our existing partners still need support to continue delivering needed programs and services. UWPH is committed to continue working to help those in need through challenging times.”