Reflecting on another year dealing with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic likely brings with it some difficult memories. When the situation looked to be improving locally, Niagara was met with more uncertainty on where the path forward would take us. One thing that is certain, is the perseverance of the community through this unprecedented time. With the help of local individuals and organizations, United Way has made an impact on the lives of 122,919 people in Niagara and raised $4.75 million dollars in 2021.
With nearly two years of this pandemic behind us, it’s sometimes difficult to remember what “normal” looked like. However, we do know that normal in Niagara is vulnerable people experiencing poverty, homelessness, food insecurity and mental health challenges. United Way Niagara’s goal was to do better than normal, by helping pull local individuals out of poverty and giving them the opportunities to thrive. In the fall, the volunteer Board of Directions approved funding recommendations set forth by the volunteer Community Investment Panel with several new initiatives focused on helping respond to the areas of most need.
“As the pandemic continues to evolve and present new challenges, our volunteers, supporters and the community at large have continued to adapt” said 2021 Campaign Chair, Chief of Police, Bryan MacCulloch. “I remain immensely proud of the Niagara community and their unwavering commitment to supporting vulnerable individuals during a time when it is desperately needed.”
United Way supports low-income seniors providing grants for those faced with health, medical and/or well-being challenges in Niagara; we support agencies through special project funding who are faced with emergency situations or to address emerging community needs; and we invest in programs meeting basic human needs, moving people out of poverty. Investments in programs that address poverty alone saw over 70,000 people in every municipality last year. 2-1-1, the information and referral service funded in part by United Way, saw an additional 4,715 calls for assistance last year over the previous period. The top reason for calling was related to housing help.
“We know that our investments in transitional housing, financial literacy and food security can truly help lift vulnerable people out of poverty and get them on the path towards stability” said CEO, Frances Hallworth. “While there are encouraging signs that the pandemic situation is improving, I know that our community and our team will continue to respond to whatever is thrown our way to help those in need.”
Visit our website to learn how you can get involved with United Way at www.unitedwayniagara.org.
About United Way: United Way works to tackle some of the biggest social issues in Niagara; investing in solutions to poverty, food security, mental illness, homelessness, domestic violence and social isolation. United Way supported 126 programs across the region in 2021, serving nearly 123,000 people when they needed it the most.