United Way kicks off 2017 cam­paign

The Welland Tribune - - NEWS - MICHELLE ALLENBERG MAl­len­berg@post­media.com

United Way of South Ni­a­gara and Ni­a­gara Falls/Greater Fort Erie kicked off its fundraiser cam­paign Wed­nes­day at Club Riche­lieu in Wel­land.

Dur­ing the bar­be­cue lunch Ta­mara Cole­man-Lawrie, United Way of South Ni­a­gara ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, an­nounced the or­ga­ni­za­tion had set a tar­get goal of rais­ing $1.8 mil­lion. The funds will be split be­tween South Ni­a­gara and United Way of Ni­a­gara Falls and Greater Fort Erie. Cole­man Lawrie said South Ni­a­gara’s goal is about $600,000 and Ni­a­gara Falls and Greater Fort Erie is aim­ing for $1.2 mil­lion.

Carol Ste­wart-Kirkby, Ni­a­gara Falls and Greater Fort Erie United Way ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, said the two branches are rel­a­tively small, but when they come to­gether they can ac­com­plish a great deal. She said it cre­ates an op­por­tu­nity to make more of an im­pact within each com­mu­nity when they work as a team.

The United Way cam­paign cochairs were an­nounced dur­ing the event Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon. Aaron Bog­gio and his brother Kyle Bog­gio will be cam­paign­ing and rais­ing funds for the or­ga­ni­za­tion. Kyle said the cam­paign will fo­cus on as­sist­ing chil­dren and fam­i­lies, cre­at­ing a strong com­mu­nity and mov­ing from poverty to pos­si­bil­ity.

“The im­pact that they’ve made, I grew up in Port Col­borne where es­sen­tially one in two peo­ple in Port Col­borne has been im­pacted by United Way. In the rest of Ni­a­gara it’s one in three peo­ple,” Kyle said.

The United Way of Ni­a­gara Falls and Greater Fort Erie and United Way of South Ni­a­gara are fo­cus­ing on a num­ber of goals. Cole­man Lawrie said those goals include pro­vid­ing men­tal health sup­port ser­vices, youth pro­gram­ming, food pro­grams and ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties to name a few. The or­ga­ni­za­tion will di­rectly im­pact the lives of 70,000 peo­ple through­out the com­mu­nity.

The Bog­gio Phar­macy has lo­ca­tions through­out Ni­a­gara. Kyle said his fam­ily busi­ness has sup­ported the United Way for many years. The Bog­gio fam­ily en­cour­ages their staff to do­nate money to the or­ga­ni­za­tion each week and in re­turn they have out of uni­form Fri­days. The Bog­gios match the do­na­tions from em­ploy­ees. Kyle said last year they raised about $15,000 and he hopes to raise as much this year.

Cole­man-Lawrie and Ste­wart Kirkby said com­mu­nity need con­tin­ues to in­crease each year. Cole­man-Lawrie said with­out the sup­port from the United Way many pro­grams would be lost in each com­mu­nity, in­clud­ing food banks and youth pro­grams.

The next fundrais­ing event is Thurs­day, Oct. 12 at Club Italia in Ni­a­gara Falls for the Ni­a­gara Falls Elim­i­na­tion Draw and Din­ner. For more in­for­ma­tion about this event and other fundrais­ers, email united@unit­ed­way­ni­a­gara.org.

MICHELLE ALLENBERG/WEL­LAND TRI­BUNE

United Way South Ni­a­gara ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Ta­mara Cole­man-Lawrie, left, and Ni­a­gara Falls and Greater Fort Erie United Way ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Carol Ste­wart-Kirkby, right, an­nounce fundrais­ing goals dur­ing the 2017 Cam­paign Kick­off Cel­e­bra­tion BBQ at Club Riche­lieu Wed­nes­day.

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