United Way issues urgent year-end appeal for donations

The United Way of Bruce Grey is issuing an urgent year-end appeal for donations.

“As we head into the end of the year, we are significantly below our fundraising goals for our Backpack Program” explains Francesca Dobbyn, Executive Director. “We didn’t receive summer student funding, but we still needed the summer students to run the program and some of our fundraising efforts came in lower than expected,” Dobbyn added.

“If the United Way can’t make up the $20,000 shortfall, the costs will come out of general revenue which could impact other programming for 2020,” she said.

Despite having wholesale relationships with manufacturers which provide low cost school supplies, the cost of the program has increased in the past few years, along with the demand. “For years we hovered around 2,000 backpacks, but over the last three years we’ve been over 2,300,” Dobbyn adds worriedly.

As an example, the binders used in the program use to cost 99 cents, now they are over $2 each. The last three years has seen a 24% increase in the number of high school requests. The high-school backpacks require the most product resulting in higher costs. In 2019, 615 high school students received a backpack.

“We know that graduation rates are a true indicator of poverty-proofing” Dobbyn offers. “We need to ensure that kids finish high school, and having the right tools, not being a victim of poverty-based bullying, all contribute to students staying in school and being successful in graduating.”

The United Way is issuing this appeal in an effort to close the gap. Tax receipts are provided for all donations.

Donations can be made through www.donatetoday.ca or by calling 519-376-1560 or dropping in the office at 380 9th Street East, Owen Sound. Cheques can be mailed to 380 9th street east Owen Sound N4K 1P1, as long as the post mark is December 31st, donors can be receipted in the 2019 year.

For more information, contact Francesca Dobbyn at 519-366-1560 or at execdir@unitedwaybg.com