United Way breakfast stirs appetite to donate

United Way kick off breakfast starts the season of giving.

Lynne Brown

Lynne Brown

United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island hopes people bring an empty stomach and a generous spirit of giving to its annual Campaign Kick Off Breakfast.

The breakfast, sponsored by Coast Capital Savings, is Friday (Sept. 23) from 7-8:30 a.m. at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

It’s the beginning of the United Way’s annual effort to raise money for organizations in the area that help families and individuals through various resources and services.

Last year’s campaign raised $650,000 in the central Island area and a total of $940,000 in all three coverage areas, including the central Island, Comox Valley and Campbell River. Money raised in the central Island area helped support 21 agencies.

Lynne Brown, chief operations officer for United Way, said one guest last year called the breakfast the signature event of the fall that kicks off the season of giving. This year, United Way is focusing on thanking the countless donors that make its work possible.

“Despite its early hour, it’s a really energizing event. It’s so much fun, so much energy and people go away feeling like they are part of making a positive difference,” said Brown.

Donations are critical to helping organizations continue to make a difference in the lives of people that turn to them.

Brown said with tremendous changes and cutbacks in government funding programs and grants and high unemployment in Nanaimo, hovering around 16 per cent earlier this year, the demand for services is increasing.

“There are lots of people out there that need help and they turn to the United Way for help,” she said.

Brown said it feels good to know that United Way is helping the community and that employees of the charity also give because they are committed to the goal.

“Every single person who works for us also donates because we believe in what we do,” she said.

This year’s event features MC Hudson Mack, a CTV news anchor, and guest speaker Marlene Toivonen, who works for Service Canada and is a former United Way board chairwoman. Toivonen will present a speech on leadership.

The breakfast also includes information on what the United Way is doing in the community and a silent auction to raise money for the annual campaign. People can also donate on the organization’s website.

Tickets are $30 each or $270 for a table of 10 and are available online at www.uwcnvi.ca, by calling 250-729-7400, e-mailing info@uwcnvi.ca or stopping by the office located at 3156 Barons Rd.