Oakville United Way close to goal

As United Way Toronto announces a record $117-million in donations, Oakville’s office is asking the community for a bit of extra help to meet its goal of $4.35 million.

Oakville’s United Way is still $50,000 short of its objective with just a few weeks to go before the group’s annual Community Celebration being held Feb. 26 at Sheridan College.

The well-known charity, established in 1956, supports local agencies that assist individuals and families in need. United Way Oakville provides funds to 33 different local groups.

Groups funded by United Way Oakville

View United Way of Oakville Funded Agencies in a larger map

Families in need
Despite Oakville’s affluence, roughly 26,000 people live in poverty, according to the Oakville Community Foundation’s (OCF) Vital Signs report released in 2011.

Local families from all walks of life deal with issues ranging from abuse to hunger and mental disorders.

Halton police responded to nearly 4000 incidents of domestic violence last year and a full 35 per cent of Halton’s 12-year-olds went to school hungry, according to a United Way document.

The United Way helps fund organizations such as The Women’s Centre, Halton Food for Thought and the Halton Branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Tough competition for funds
As competition for donor dollars increases, finding the funds to help distressed people in the community is “getting harder every year,” says Brad Park, United Way of Oakville’s chief executive officer.

“There are over 88,000 registered charities in Canada,” Park says.

Seniors at risk
One often-overlooked group needing help is Oakville’s seniors. As the population continues to age, the health care system is put to the test with a large number of elderly patients taking up hospital beds.

When seniors are discharged and sent home, they often need assistance cooking and doing other routine tasks.

This is where the Oakville Kiwanis Meals on Wheels comes to the rescue, but the local group that delivered meals to 365 people last year could not operate without support from the United Way and an army of dedicated volunteers.

In 2013, 86 people dedicated a total of 4,462 hours to help seniors get a meal, according to the group’s 2013 annual report.

Patricia Ogborn, the Meals on Wheels’ executive director in Oakville, had this to say about the importance of United Way Oakville’s contributions.

Give where we live
Many members of Oakville’s community work in Toronto and contribute through company programs. Residents should consider directing their contributions to the local office of their preferred charity.

photo and video: Andrew Scott Walker

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