Thanks to the generosity of the Brandon community, the 2012 United Way Brandon and District fundraising campaign garnered $758,655.47, a seven per cent increase from 2011’s $706,000 total.
Local businesses and organizations gathered for a special luncheon Wednesday to celebrate their fundraising efforts and hear the results of the campaign.
When the campaign launched in September, the goal was to raise $775,000, but those involved aren’t discouraged and are already looking forward to the next campaign announcement.
“I think it will only get bigger and better every year,” said campaign chair Bob Cey.
Some campaign highlights included the annual Christmas tree auction, which raised nearly $21,470, as well as the kickoff golf tournament in Shilo.
“One of the highlights of the campaign was going on a tour of the soup kitchen and seeing first-hand what’s happening in our community and where United Way fits in,” Cey said. “When you get to experience these things you can become very motivated.”
Members of the campaign thanked the community for being an unforgettable part of their efforts.
“Just talking to people in the community and getting the positive feedback and support are the kind of things you just don’t forget.”
This year, nearly 23 local organizations will receive financial assistance thanks to the many volunteers involved with the campaign.
“That covers a wide range of services provided in Brandon and it goes to everything from a soup kitchen to blankets for kids as an example, everything that our society, our community needs for support when they need it United Way is in there,” he said.
“The need is growing in Brandon and the community keeps coming up to the plate so we’re able to support everyone who needs it, no one’s going to fall through the cracks.”
Although the 2012 United Way campaign was missing one of its celebrated members and CEO, Debbie Arsenault, she continues to inspire community members and volunteers to be a part of this initiative.
Arsenault was with United Way for 33 years before she died in July following a lengthy battle with cancer.
“It always came through to me how passionate and committed she was and I just don’t forget that,” Cey said. “She touched everyone that way, she’s left a legacy that gives you a passion for the United Way.”
Cey added that the 2013 campaign will start off once again with the kickoff golf tournament in September and this year’s campaign chair will be announced at the United Way’s annual meeting in March.
The United Way also celebrated 75 years of serving those in need in 2012. Fundraising efforts started in Brandon in 1937 with the Brandon and District Community Chest and War Bond Appeal.
For more information about the United Way Brandon and District, visit brandonuw.ca.