Uniting for the community way
By Dave Yasvinski
The United Way is well on its way to reaching its goal of $4.75 million, thanks in part to the efforts of Western's faculty and students.
Kris Blainey, communications coordinator for the United Way of London and Middlesex, said the $678,163 they have raised so far puts them a couple of weeks ahead of last year's campaign. The campaign which began Sept. 21, runs for 10 weeks.
Last year the university raised $242,862, Blainey said. "The university is one of our largest contributors, they are up there in the top 10. We are very grateful."
Blainey said the money raised will be used to fund more than 60 London and area programs such as the Youth Action Centre. "We're making sure we'll meet our goal, there's a lot of people depending on us."
Western's goal for the campaign is to raise $250,000, said Frank Miller, general manager of food services and Western's United Way campaign co-chair. Miller said he is responsible for helping to raise money from the faculty and staff at the university.
"It's time to give something back. Our goal is a quarter of a million in 33 days we have our work cut out for us," he said.
Miller added he is confident this goal can be met. "I have no doubt we'll hit our goal or this food guy could be in trouble."
United Way special events coordinator for Western, Jackie Gignac, said fund-raising for this cause is particularly important because corporately it is the only charity Western recognizes. "That's why we put so much effort into it," she said.
"I personally know people who have used United Way. I can't imagine a community of this size without it," she added.
Gignac said they have a half dozen or so fund-raising events planned before the campaign wraps up Nov. 28. She added they are working very closely with student fund-raising efforts through the University Students' Council.
USC United Way commissioner, Meeta Shaw, said this working relationship benefits everyone. "In the past there was sometimes no communication at all. There is a lot more integration this year they have helped us out with their resources," she said.
Shaw said the students have many fund-raising efforts planned, such as the craft sale which took place yesterday and the 24-hour camp-out the Outdoors Club will be participating in this weekend.
"[Students] raised about $12,000 last year we would like to raise at least $15,000 this year," Shaw added.