The United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island started its campaign season Friday, raising about $30,000 at its annual kick off breakfast.
Lynne Brown, chief operating officer of the local United Way, said despite Nanaimo’s high unemployment rate and a sluggish economy, residents and businesses dug deep into their pockets to make the breakfast a success.
“When we talk to people who have had co-workers laid off, we remind them that the money they give will go to the agencies that will help those people while they are out of work,” said Brown. “In times like these the demand for services increase, and people who have the means realize that.”
Norm Hayward, Internet services manager at Newcastle Nissan, won the 50/50 draw worth almost $1,000. He returned the cash back to the cause.
This year’s goal is to raise $1 million, money that will be allocated to assist 23 local agencies and 40 throughout the central and north Island.
Last year, the organization raised $940,000, while receiving $1.1 million in requests for funding.
“What we’re really aiming for this year is to meet that need,” said Brown. “I’m predicting we’ll have an increase in requests this year, because Nanaimo has one of the highest unemployment rates in the province so that translates into people who don’t have jobs, people who are struggling to keep a roof over their head, people who are struggling to feed their families.”
The campaign continues until Dec. 31.
To donate online visit www.uwcnvi.ca or call 250-729-7400.