Kingston – It was another record setting year for the Kingston area United Way. Back in September it announced it was looking to raise 3.45 million dollars in just 12 weeks. It was the most ambitious goal to date and the United Way not only reached it – it squashed it.
The 3.7 million raised is a new record, breaking last year’s haul of just over 3.4. Sixty percent of funds raised are donated by individuals and workplaces. Organizers say they’re amazed by how Kingston is able to come together every year to help its community.
Pat Murphy/Campaign Cabinet Member
“Every workplace is important whether they had 3-employees which we saw or 3-hundred, we need everybody to stick together and that’s what makes it work.”
Events also play a big role when it comes to donations. Both the North American Police Equestrian Championships and Fare for Friends raised big bucks for the 75th anniversary campaign. So did the sold out Kingston Penitentiary tours. More than 3-hundred thousand dollars was generated.
Officials say that money will go a long way.
Bhavana Varma/President & CEO, United Way KFLA
“It’s going to work right away to help agencies in our community so we helped 40-agencies last year and they all provide some really valuable services whether it’s helping children, youth, seniors, families, individuals, when people are ready for change our agencies are there.”
Agencies like the Kingston Youth Shelter. Executive Director Jason Beaubiah says thanks to United Way support about a hundred youth were kept off the streets last year alone.
Jason Beaubiah/Executive Director, Kingston Youth Shelter
“We have the prevention piece, we have the transitional longer term supportive piece, we’ve double the amount that we can offer through our emergency shelter. The services that we are able to offer is just a night and day difference and it is directly attributed to the United Way.”
More than 75-thousand people benefit from the campaign every year. Of those helped last year – more than 23-thousand were children and youth. And while everyone here is in celebration mode – the work doesn’t stop. The focus now shifts to next year’s campaign and to make that another record breaker. Nikki Jhutti, CKWS News Kingston.