The following is a submitted letter to the editor. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of The Kingstonist.
As the 2021 United Way KFL&A Campaign draws to a close, we wanted to take an opportunity to thank the Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington community and all the wonderful people who worked so hard to make this year’s campaign an overwhelming and remarkable success, especially in this pandemic year.
United Way KFL&A has been supporting the community for 80 years now – since 1941 – and the past two of these have certainly been challenging. The pandemic has disproportionately impacted the most marginalized and our community saw an increase in need. Agencies are seeing community members who have never used or needed these services before, as well as an increase in the severity of this need.
With all of this in mind, this year’s goal was an ambitious 25 per cent more than the year prior. Volunteers on the Campaign Cabinet knew things would be different again – most fundraising events still could not be held, and many workplaces continued to operate remotely or with a hybrid model. We are so grateful that supporters saw the need and those who could, donated generously. We saw a lot of donors respond to the incredibly generous matching grants provided by Ray DiRinaldo and Paul DiRinaldo from RDR Wealth Management, Jim and Julie Parker, and Jessica Bayne Hogan – thank you for your incredible leadership and support.
Workplace campaign volunteers continued to find new and innovative ways to support the community through paint nights, virtual cooking classes, food truck events and so much more. Our remarkable agencies found time to share the impact of donations through videos, virtual panels, and some in-person speaking events. Our amazing volunteers continued to deliver and exceed expectations, giving their time and talents whenever they could. And the United Way staff continued to impress with their hard work and adaptability. Everyone, united together, made the 2021 campaign a huge success.
United Way continues to evaluate the changing situation on the ground, knowing that challenges will persist now and beyond the end of the pandemic. Frontline agencies continue to find collaborative ways to support those most impacted by the pandemic. Like all of us, frontline agencies are facing fatigue, working hard to ensure they can continue to serve people in vulnerable situations. We know they can’t do this alone. Now more than ever, they rely on the support of the community and donors to continue to show their support and the success of this campaign means we can continue to support them in the important work they do.
United Way agencies were created to address local issues, especially in times of crisis and need. As a trusted organization, United Way addresses root causes, supports prevention programs and funds agencies that meet immediate needs. Our funding decisions directly impact local lives within KFL&A. With the continued support of our amazing community, this will continue.
COVID-19 continues to show that existing gaps in our community are even more prominent, exposing issues such as food insecurity, homelessness, mental health, addictions, and sexual and partner abuse. There is still significant need. What’s important is that all organizations, local government, agencies, are working closely together to find solutions and help preserve and deliver the essential programs necessary to support the most vulnerable.
Your support and local love continue to change lives throughout KFL&A.
2021 United Way KFL&A Campaign Chair
President & CEO, United Way KFL&A