United Way kicked off its 2017 fundraising campaign on Wednesday at Market Square in downtown Guelph and announced a goal of $3.5 million.
All money raised will go towards the 88 local programs at 54 different organizations in Guelph along with Wellington and Dufferin counties.
“So it’s about providing programs to help people exit from the cycle they might be in,” said Ken Dardano, United Way Executive Director.
Programs support a variety of issues, including poverty, homelessness, mental health and literacy.
Over the past 20 years, more than $52 million has been raised in the community, according to the United Way.
“It really is an eye-opening experience to realize that we do have food banks, we do have youth shelters – all the issues that are in any community are here,” Dardano explained.
Dardano pointed to not-for-profit 10 Carden as an example. It is shared office, meeting and event space where individuals can gather, work and exchange ideas in the heart of Guelph.
“We invested $50,000 last year and they have worked hard on renovating an old building downtown,” he said. “We have a number of our funded agencies utilizing that facility.”
The kick-off featured a BBQ lunch and Guelph Fire, who took passengers on ride with their aerial truck in exchange for a donation to United Way.
The campaign will run until the end of December.
Donations will be accepted throughout the region, and at the United Office or on their website.
WATCH: Facebook Live with United Way Executive Director, Ken Dardano