United Way using events to draw people in and raise funds to meet the $2.1 million Burlington target. Is your company involved?

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  October 30th, 2012  Last week was a great week for the United Way in Burlington, announcing that they had reached the 25% level of the $2.1 million they need to raise – and we are not about to stop at that level are we?  One of the United Way agencies put on an event in the parking lot of the United Way offices on Harvester Road that had three Food Trucks on the property selling lunches.

Cup Cake Diner had to pull out at the 25 minute mark – they were sold out.  Gorilla Cheese and HankDaddy BBQ each had line ups of more than 50 people in front of their trucks.  That is called a SELL OUT!

Then on Sunday there was a Fashion Shoe at the Rude Native on Brant.  $25 got you a light lunch and a look at some new fashion pieces.

Check out the apparel that was on display.  Burlington United Way Chair Paddy Torsney and one of her side kicks Kendra Mullen took to the runway – sorry, we don’t have the names of the other models.

Our reports are that it was a fun event that everyone enjoyed.

The city of Burlington held their annual truck pulling event outside city hall which was a successful event.  Kim Phillips, one of the city’s two General Managers is working on the rest of the public sector to increase the giving at that level – that being the federal and provincial governments and agencies.

What really works for the United Way – and for you the citizen, is the payroll deduction plan.  It can be as little as a dollar a paycheque – choose the number that reflects what you can manage.  And if you need to bow out for a period of time – all that takes is a phone call.

Here’s what happens when you go the payroll deduction route.  You see the gross payroll figure and then you see the CPP deductions (you will retire at some point) and then you see the EI deduction and hope you never have to make a claim.  Then you see the United Way deduction and you can pause for a second, smile and know that you’re helping.  It may not be much but when Len Loftus, chief cheese of the United Way operation for Burlington and Hamilton sees those combined numbers he is one happy camper – because he is the guy that has to figure out how much he can make available to the Food for Thought people – they are the ones who make meals available to kids who leave the house in the morning without a breakfast in their tummies.  Or how much he is going to send to the Nelson Youth Centre that provides group based treatment intervention which supports and strengthens  the ability of children and youth to develop more effective social and emotional skills.  This program includes a mandatory parental program.

Why do people line up like this to buy lunch? Because they know a portion of the proceeds are going to the United Way.  The Food Truck program was such as success that plans are already being made for a repeat performance next year.

The agencies that get the funds the United Way collects came up with the idea for the Food Truck event.  It went so well that Gayle Cruikshank said the agencies want to make this a yearly event with proceeds going to the UW.

They all matter, they all need help and there is never enough to cover all the bases.  Loftus has to wiggle and jiggle his numbers and hope that there is at least enough to cover those bases.

When you sign that payroll deduction card you are doing two things – helping in a real, measurable way and cutting down on the amount of wiggling and jiggling that Len Loftus has to do each year.

The theme for the United Way this year is Change starts here – it really starts at your pay cheque and being prepared to give some of it to those who need help.

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