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Walter Flasza is confident the United Way of Thunder Bay can hit its ambitious $2.7-million 2013 campaign goal.
The money, an increase of about $70,000 over what was raised a year ago, is too important to too many organizations, the campaign chairman said Thursday morning, after unveiling the figure at the United Way’s annual kickoff breakfast.
“I think it’s a very achievable target,” Flasza said. “The target this year is very reasonable, in the context of (last year’s figure).”
The need continues to grow, he added, which presents the United Way’s biggest challenge.
“Really, if I had my way, the goal would be double that because in all honesty we can’t come close to funding the things that we’re approached on. It’s very disheartening in some regards to be in the position where you have to say no,” Flasza said.
“But we do our very, very best. We have a strong team in place and I think we’re all motivated to help our community and deal with the pressing needs.”
Imagine a community without the United Way. It would be quite a different world, he went on to say.
The charity funds 29 agencies and 64 programs throughout the city, including Our Kids Count, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Thunder Bay, Faye Peterson Transition House, Community Living Thunder Bay and the Lakehead Social Planning Council.
“I suspect those agencies would struggle. They would have to hire more people,” Flasza said.
“Clearly we can all see these agencies would not accomplish what we are able to do today.”
Flasza and his campaign team found support in Mayor Keith Hobbs, who said it’s no secret that times are tough in Northwestern Ontario communities.
Addressing the problem is a major task, he said, bigger than any one individual can tackle, Hobbs added, calling the United Way a tremendous success story in Thunder Bay.
“There are people in our city who need our help, and help only the United Way can provide,” Hobbs said. “While we need to raise money, we need to raise awareness. Tell people what you’re going to give. Be persistent and persuasive because this is such an important organization."
In addition to payroll deductions, donations can be made by cash, cheque, credit card or debit, as well as securely online at www.unitedway-tbay.on.ca or in person at 100-175 Hewitson Street inside the Cheadles building.
The campaign runs through December.
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