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United Way Elgin Middlesex
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Save the candy and flowers for your sweetie, and dig deep for your community

Monday, February 12, 2018, London, ON - This Valentine's Day, go ahead and give your sweetheart flowers, candy or maybe a ring. Just don't let that lovin' feeling stop there. United Way is asking you to share the love with your community too.

Last September, United Way announced four impact goals for Elgin and Middlesex:

  • Providing 16,000 counselling sessions to help 5,000 individuals move toward mental wellness
  • Funding 10,300 spaces in after-school programs for vulnerable kids
  • Access to 325 round-trip rides to non-emergency medical and specialty appointments for rural residents who can't drive
  • Comprehensive funding for 4 community hubs that give high priority neighbourhoods easy access to crucial social services

"We are so close to the finish line, but we're not there yet," says John Sliskovic, Partner, Tax-Private Client Services, Ernst & Young and 2017 United Way Campaign Chair. "We need more people to dig deep and help close the gap. Giving is as easy as visiting www.unitedwayem.ca to make a personal donation or get some great ideas to organize a small fundraising event."

Donations to United Way stay 100% local and are invested in proven programs that change the odds for people right here at home.

"Each gift – big or small -- makes an immediate impact," says Kelly Ziegner, CEO, United Way Elgin Middlesex. "Whether it's helping a family in crisis find support when they need it most, brightening an isolated senior's day, or providing a kid with access to the tools they need to have success in school and life, your donation builds a better community for all of us - one person at a time."

Daya Counselling Centre is one of the 110 programs United Way invests in across Elgin and Middlesex counties. More than ever before, they're seeing an increase in calls for mental health counselling – an increase they are struggling to meet.

"We hear from many people that they've tried this, they've tried that and those services are also full or have a wait list," says Rebecca Machado, Executive Director, Daya Counselling Centre. "The need is exceeding available support." Daya often receives 20 to 30 more calls per week than available counselling spots.

In spite of increasing need, Machado says there's hope. "We make a direct connection to other services when we can because we know people in distress don't want to make 48 calls." Machado's team often points to Ontario 211 and the Support Line -- both free resources, available 24/7 and funded by United Way.

"It is incredibly powerful that mental health and wellness is a public conversation," Machado continues. "Asking for support is absolutely an act of courage, not an indication of failure."

United Way will announce progress toward its impact goals and its full range of community investments at a public event in April 2018.

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Last Updated: Monday, 12 February 2018 14:56:54 PM EST

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