Naomi McKimmie

Naomi McKimmie

‘Park with Us’ kicks off United Way campaign

Harvest Country Fair returns to Gyro Park on Sept. 24

Downtown customers won’t have to plug the metre for parking Thursday, as United Way kicks off this year’s campaign with its “Park with Us” event.

Parking fees will be waved thanks to the city and its sponsors, which will be acknowledged on parking signs attached to city meters.

“It’s a win-win for everybody,” said Naomi McKimmie, executive director of Trail and District United Way, an umbrella organization that takes care of financially struggling groups that do good work in the community.

“Businesses are all for giving their customers free parking, it’s great advertisement and a great way to attract people to downtown.”

Residents are reminded to park responsibility – keeping prime parking open to shoppers, not staff – and to free up the space after a limited time to ensure others have an opportunity to park for free.

Back by popular demand, United Way will once again host its Harvest Country Fair at Gyro Park Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event welcomes autumn with a farmer’s market, baking and preserves contests, kids games, live music and more.

“It was originally started just as a showcase for the community partners,” said McKimmie.

“But it’s grown so much over the last two years – we went from approximately 300 the first year to about 600 people attending last year – and we expect more this year with a new barbecue toonie lunch sponsored by Teck and the United Steelworkers Local 480 and 9705.”

The funds collected from the lunch will also go toward this year’s community allocation.

As a result of the 2010 campaign, a total of $50,000 was distributed amongst 19 local organizations that provide recreational and work experience opportunities and social programs for at risk youth and adults.

“In the last decade the United Way has put half a million dollars back into the community through the allocation process,” said McKimmie.

“It has enabled these 19 affiliates to do absolutely fabulous work in the community and to continue to grow their organizations – without this money, it be twice as hard for them.”

This year’s “Change Starts Here” slogan speaks to the organization’s desire to have a presence in the community and make a difference.

The campaign’s goal is to bring awareness to the community on what United Way does for the community and how residents can help achieve the organization’s goal.

“We can’t expect things to improve unless we are willing to get out there and do the work, whether it’s volunteering or donating,” said McKimmie. “We can’t change the way things are in the community without getting involved.”

For more information on upcoming events or to reach McKimmie, call 364-0999 or email info@traildistrictunitedway.com.