United Way campaign nears halfway mark

Trail and District United Way sets goal of $85,000

A healthy lunch for a needy child or much-needed dental work for a struggling senior all begin with the work of one organization – the United Way.

The organization has a goal of helping everyone in a community from its youngest citizen to the oldest and everyone in between. But that generosity does not begin at its office, it begins with each and every resident willing to help.

The United Way of Trail and District is nearing the halfway mark of its 2012 campaign and is 40 per cent towards its goal of raising $85,000.

Naomi McKimmie, the executive director for the Trail district branch, saluted all the volunteers, donors, businesses and sponsors that have brought the campaign to this point.

“The campaign runs all year but the main portion is from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31,” she explained.

McKimmie credited the success of this summer’s Park With Us campaign and the United Way Day in the Park in helping boost its fundraising efforts heading into its crucial months.

This year’s total is the same as 2011, which helped 16 organizations by sharing over $55,000.

And those programs include some that help people simply make it through a day healthy and happy.

“One prime example is the Healthy Schools meal program,” said McKimmie. “That is one of the largest things that we help fund yearly. Every elementary school at the southern end of the school district benefits.

“Our money goes from Rossland to Genelle to Fruitvale. That’s where the money raised at our United Way office stays.”

Another example is the Dental Access Fund for emergency dental work for individuals of any age.

Those are two of a myriad of programs that benefit from the United Way’s efforts and the generosity of local citizens.

“It takes a village to raise a child,” said McKimmie, repeating an old adage. “But it also takes a village to create a village.”

She explained the United Way is moving from an umbrella organization, which helped a variety of at-large groups, to a more community-impact model.

“We are getting more involved in community groups,” she said. “But we’ll continue to fund the organizations that we normally fund year-to-year.”

To bolster the coffers to help more groups, the organization is hoping to create an endowment fund.

“We’re hoping within the next year, to solicit corporations and businesses to begin the endowment fund. The interest from that fund would be used for community groups.

“So if we can build the endowment fund, the more money we’ll have for helping those groups.”

She emphasized that all the money raised stays local and people can even designate certain programs.

“The United Way all across Canada is extremely big on if you want your money to go to a specific designation, that’s where it goes.”

There are some limitations and she suggests contacting the United Way office for more details.

But the bottom line is to help as many people as possible.

The 2012 campaign has already been through a successful September and October is designated as a month to focus on workplace donations. November will see the organization promote its annual raffle, which includes airfare for two to Vancouver, and will culminate with the draw during the Rekindle the Christmas Spirit celebration in Rossland in December.

The entire goal of the campaign is to help the community and to that end Thursday was the deadline for groups to submit funding applications.

“The organizations that apply for funds go through an interview process and then it goes to the board for a final decision,” said McKimmie.

The money raised in this year’s campaign will be handed out in two portions in January and June of 2013.

For more information on the United Way campaign visit the organization’s Facebook page or contact the office at 364-0999.