We’re all Winnipeg

Kristie and her husband, Doug Pollard, are co-chairing this year’s United Way Winnipeg campaign.

In times of need, I know I can count on my circle of family and friends to help me out and get me back to where I need to be.

And my circle knows they can depend on me to do the same for them.

Who’s in your circle? Your spouse, your sibling, a high school friend, a parent or co-worker? We all deserve a circle of people who will be there for us.

But that doesn’t mean we’ve all got one. There are far too many Winnipeggers who have fallen through the cracks and need our help.

That’s where the United Way Winnipeg comes in.

Our 2023 annual campaign to support the more than 125 agencies that provide those circles of support to the less fortunate runs until January 31. Our goal is $22.8 million.

It sounds like a lot of money and it is, but we need everybody pulling in the same direction to get there.

Our workplace programs have been going well, in part because employees can gather together in ways they couldn’t during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many workplaces are recognizing the need in our community and raising money while building team camaraderie. This year Doug and I attended more than 55 corporate United Way Winnipeg events with some amazing community-minded businesses. Hundreds of businesses in Winnipeg have workplace campaigns but there is always room for more.

One of our biggest challenges is there are fewer major donors out there and those who do give, are giving less than the previous generation. This isn’t just in Winnipeg but around the world. (Your donation in Manitoba goes further than anywhere else in Canada because we’re the only province with a provincial grant that covers administration costs. So every dollar you give goes straight to the community where it is needed most).

At the same time, so many of our systems, whether they’re medical or educational, are at the breaking point. COVID had, and is still having, a major impact on our community. People have died and many who remain are struggling with mental and physical health issues or suffering the effects of inflation. These are human beings in our community who need our help. We need to be their circle of support.

The Pollard Family Foundation is matching new donations up to $365 and we’re getting a good response from many individual Winnipeggers.

But it’s more than just the people receiving United Way services who need our help—it’s also the people that provide those services. In many cases, they’re working ridiculous hours, under extreme stress while witnessing the true impact of poverty.

I know of one 21-year-old worker who had somebody overdose on their watch. They provided chest compressions until first responders showed up. I doubt that was in the job description.

Those agency workers have the backs of the people in our community that need it. The more we support the United Way Winnipeg, the more people can be hired to give the most vulnerable a hand up. We need to have their backs!

We’re simply not giving enough to those folks and we need to step it up.

Let’s do this. We are ALL Winnipeg so please dig deep and lean in.


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