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2012-11-27 at 16:22

Not giving up

By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
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THUNDER BAY -- With just more than four weeks left in the 2012 United Way campaign, organizers are anticipating a $95,000 shortfall.

As employee campaigns are drawing to a close, campaign chairwoman Carol Busch attributes the pending shortfall to workplace downsizing, economic conditions and donor fatigue.

But they haven’t given up hope.

“I’d like to urge our community to step forward,” said Busch. “I know we can make this goal if we have the assistance of the community.”

The United Way of Thunder Bay set a $2,602,012 goal this September and Busch said they have held various events and launched numerous employee campaigns to raise the money.

The organization funds 67 programs run by 28 local agencies.

If the goal isn’t met, the shortfall will result in less funding for some programs or possibly the elimination of some programs.

While Busch said they haven’t analyzed the impact of flood relief on the United Way campaign, it is being felt by the Christmas Cheer campaign.

While Christmas Cheer doesn’t officially launch until Friday, chairwoman Linda Gambee said the May 28 flood has already caused the demand for Christmas Cheer to rise this year.

“Those phone calls have already started,” she said, adding it’s a difficult decision for some people to choose on what to spend the little money they have.

“Do we spend money on rent? Do we give the kids a Christmas? That’s a really tough choice most people don’t have to make at Christmastime,” she said.

With so many charities asking for donations at Christmastime, the addition of the Disaster Relief Fund does have Gambee worried, but not just for how it will impact Christmas Cheer.

“I’m concerned for all of us because there are so many people in need not only for food that we give at Christmastime but for the flood victims. There are so many there still struggling just to get off the ground, to get things back in their homes,” she said.

Christmas Cheer is working with a shortfall of $27,000 from last year, but has already been working bingos for the last several months and has a two-bit auction scheduled for this Thursday evening at the CLE Heritage building.

And like Busch, Gambee also has faith in the community of Thunder Bay.

“We say it every year that we have an amazing community. They just seem to give from their heart,” she said. “I think we’ll do fine.”

The Salvation Army’s Major Mervyn Halvorsen also isn’t worried about meeting their $160,000 goal for this season’s Christmas Kettle campaign.

While they are $6,800 behind from this time last year, the Salvation Army is more concerned about their volunteer numbers.

There are times when some kettles have no one posted at them. 

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We've improved our comment system.
Dan Dan says:
The United Way set a ridiculously over-ambitious goal. You have to give them credit for almost reaching it, but hopefully they don't make the same mistake next year.
11/28/2012 12:56:44 AM
TBDR says:
if they almost reached it, how was it a ridiculous goal? That makes no sense!
11/28/2012 2:32:40 PM
Dan Dan says:
The United Way is handling flood donations, and those numbers helped bolster the total. However, it was definitely an unusual circumstance. You can't expect it to continue. But I bet they will.
11/30/2012 10:51:00 AM
Ranma says:
With the amount of people affected by the flooding, and the layoffs that have happened, I am not surprised. People are having a harder time keeping their own heads above water, and do not have the spare cash to give to charities. How many people from the May flood STILL do not have a working furnace? Or even a home to live in..
11/28/2012 10:08:10 AM
conker2012 says:
Maybe they should have put a backflow check valve in their sewer and storm drain lines instead of donating to the united way...... might have saved them a house and furnace.

After the so called "flood" happened, first thing I did was bash open my basement floor and had these preventative messures put into place.
I was always planning to have them installed when I was redoing my basement in the future, but this event was my catalyst do to it earlier.

These people should install these valves before they do anything else in their homes.
11/28/2012 4:48:39 PM
Renegade120860 says:
There is another factor that may be in play right now, in addition to those attributed to the downturn in charitable donations.

People in middle age are being told that they should not count on the C.P.P., when they reach the retirement age.

Therefore, they are being encouraged to contribute as much as they can to their own RRSP's.

Thus, even less discretionary income, that could make it's way to charity/charities.
11/28/2012 4:09:39 PM
tex_mex-fry says:
It must be the Christmas season. The United Way is once again saying they are falling short of their goal.
11/28/2012 4:10:25 PM
barrows says:
It has nothing to do with the Christmas season. The campaign runs from Sept-Dec. I give through my employee campaign and we just finished. Although we didnt raise alot, we did try to do a bit more. That video makes you think, a dollar changes lives!
11/28/2012 6:38:12 PM
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