MEDIA RELEASE: It’s a red alert and we need your help.

Increased demand for services and a decrease in charitable giving are the perfect storm for a sector reaching its breaking point.

Guelph, Ontario, December 15, 2022. 

It’s a red alert and we need our community’s help.

Every day in our community thousands of people reach to our charitable sector for support – a family struggling to put food on their table for the holidays and beyond; an individual suffering from mental illness with no where to go for help; a child who has experienced a traumatic event; a senior with no family to visit.  Many of the programs and services our community reaches to are funded by United Way.

“The truth is, without our community’s help, the services that so many have come to rely on may not be there when someone in crisis needs them,” said Glenna Banda, executive director, United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin.  “Our community will look much different without our charitable sector there to support it.”

More individuals and families are struggling with food insecurity, housing affordability and mental health than ever before.  United Way’s 211 helpline shows calls up across the board earlier this year – 19 per cent for assistance with food, 16 per cent for housing and shelter, and a staggering 34 per cent for mental health counselling.

“Every year we start at zero and look to raise millions of dollars to maintain our support to our community partners and we aren’t there yet this year – we need help,” said Patricia Tersigni, United Way Campaign Chair.  “Our community is so generous and we are always grateful to those who see the need and want to help, but the 2022 United Way Campaign is short of where it needs to be to maintain our funding to critical programs and services.”

According to a poll commissioned by CanadaHelps, 22 per cert of Canadians plan to access charitable services over the next six months – up from 14 per cent last January – just to meet basic needs such as food, shelter and clothing.  Millennials are the most impacted, with 1 in 3 Canadians ages 18 to 34 expected to seek assistance from the sector.

The charitable sector is facing demand for services never seen before – but it is also struggling to meet that demand as it grapples with new realities – flat-lined fundraising, rising costs of goods, and staff and volunteer shortages. 

Locally, United Way partner Hope House, has seen a staggering increase in both the cost to deliver services as well as demand for help.  Food costs have increased 143% from this time last year and the number of visits by households has increased 50%.

“We know that we are all feeling the impact of rising interest rates and the high cost of living right now, but the stats are staggering,” said Banda.  “Those numbers could be you, it could be me, it could be my parents or children.”

“Our community’s social safety net is more important than ever and with so many urgent needs, we know it can be tough to choose where to give,” said Tersigni.  “However a donation to United Way makes it possible to support a number of critical issues – poverty, mental health, homelessness, isolation, and hunger.” 

Everyone in our community can make a difference.  No donation is too small and every dollar adds up.  That is what United Way is built on – all parts of our community coming together to bridge the gaps and unite under a worthy cause.

“The vital work United Way does alongside our community partners is not possible without our caring community of donors,” said Banda.  “We need you now Guelph Wellington Duffern.”

Donations are accepted through the United Way office (519-821-0571 or and at workplaces across Guelph and Wellington and Dufferin counties.  Donations, as always, will stay 100% local.

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For more information:
Glenna Banda, Executive Director
United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin

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