The United Way of Lethbridge and South Western Alberta will wrap up their 2016 campaign season with a last-minute campaign and a bold goal – to ask 750 people to donate $75 per person to raise more than $50,000 by the end of December, just 17 days from today (Wednesday, December 14, 2016).
“Residents of Lethbridge and southern Alberta are famous for their generosity and passion for helping people in need,” said United Way Executive Director Trudy Carrels. “In fact, we rank among the top 5 communities in the nation for charitable giving as a percentage of income, according to GIV3, a national organization that tracks charitable giving in Canada.”
Carrels said the community is are also famous for something else: being famously (or infamously) known as ‘Last-minute Lethbridge.’ “Residents can fill an entire theatre or a hockey rink seemingly moments before an event begins. It proves that our community can do things quickly. We are challenging people to celebrate this community trait and help us – at the last minute -- so United Way can help others.”
The charity, which is celebrating its 75th year of service to the community, is asking area residents to support them so they, in turn, can support a number of area social services agencies. Gifts made before midnight on December 31 are tax deductible in the 2016 tax year.
“Since December 1 we’ve received more than $7,000 in donations from individuals and organizations who have stepped up as we get close to the end of the year. These are unsolicited gifts that are allowing us to launch this effort with more than 14 per cent of our goal already achieved.”
Carrels said that the volume of people in need for a variety of reasons is increasing in the community, which puts a corresponding strain on the United Way’s partner agencies. “As an umbrella organization, we want to make sure we can start 2017 out in a solid position to help them meet needs. This ‘last-minute Lethbridge’ campaign augments our established workplace giving programs, standalone events and online giving efforts.”
As the end of the year approaches, and especially during the holiday season, an increased focus is placed on helping people in communities throughout the region.
“Our goal is to keep that that good feeling going well past Christmastime because, for our partner organizations, the need does not stop on December 25. We are extremely grateful for the many businesses and organizations that support us each year and for the hundreds of people who help us in many different ways – through annual workplace campaigns, special events or individual donations.”
Behind all the numbers are people – with families, at risk of homelessness, living in poverty or other challenging circumstances. “Many of our donors have either personally experienced hardship or know someone who has, and for them their support means more than writing a cheque,” Carrels said.
“We take their commitment seriously and assure our donors that we are spending their money in the right places to ensure maximum benefit to our community.”
Carrels said that over the past three years the United Way has been able to help more than 30 agencies with nearly $750,000 in funding but face requests that exceed $1.2 million this year alone. “We are working very hard to close that gap, and literally every penny counts. We have been serving the community for 75 years – and we are planning to be here for another 75 years, supporting as many people as we possibly can.”
Donations to the “Last Minute Lethbridge” campaign can be made online at www.lethbridgeunitedway.ca.
In person during regular business hours: 1277 3rd Ave. S. (NOTE: the office will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day)
By credit card over the phone (403) 327-1700
By Mail: United Way of Lethbridge and South Western Alberta 1277 3rd Ave. S., Lethbridge, AB T1J 0K3
For more information, please contact United Way at 403-327-1700 or email www.lethbridgeunitedway.ca .