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This article was published 22/12/2009 (2745 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
After what chairman Jeff Zabudsky called "four unprecedented $100,000 days," the United Way is getting closer to its $18.2-million target.
Following a plea for donations five days ago, the agency was overwhelmed with the generosity of Winnipeggers and has reached 95 per cent of its goal, he said.
With the mid-January deadline looming, he hopes the momentum continues. "It's not just about meeting the goal, it's about meeting the need," he said.
Poverty reduction, healthy neighbourhoods and supporting Winnipeg youth are the three key priorities of the United Way.
With nearly 100 agencies relying on funding from the charity, the need for more funding is greater this year than ever before.
Millie Anderson, who runs Oyate Tipi Cumini Yape on Selkirk Avenue, said without the support of the United Way, the organization would not exist.
Oyate Tipi Cumini Yape accepts donations of gently used household items and furniture for women and children who come from shelters and transition homes.
The agency's seven staff members and two dozen volunteers help about 4,000 people a year.
"The amount of calls that we have from people asking for our help is incredible," she said. "At least four or five times a day, I have someone call me and tell me that they don't even have a bed to sleep on."
Anderson said many of her clients have nothing when they are referred to her from women's shelters and transition homes.
Zabudsky said funding cuts to agencies such as Oyate Tipi Cumini Yape would be a last resort for the United Way if the fundraising goal is not met. However, he admits there is a danger that some of the agencies might be forced to reduce their services.
"We knew that it would take every minute of this campaign to complete our goal," Zabudsky said. "But things are looking up, and if we keep it up, we'll get there."
Anybody wishing to make a donation can go to www.unitedwaywinnipeg.mb.ca or call 477-5360.
Donations go to needy
The administrative costs of the United Way are covered by a grant from the Manitoba government -- one of only a few provinces where that is the case. Salaries, and the agency's new building, are not funded by donors.
The fundraising goal for the United Way was increased by five per cent from last year based on increased demand by the nearly 100 sponsored agencies. The United Way offers core funding to its agencies.