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A life of poverty

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I just read the Winnipeg Free Press story Chronicling a life of poverty -- Woman's story highlights state of Winnipeg's inner city.

I can’t believe what "Claudette," a mother of two, has to go through to make ends meet. Literally counting pennies. Walking miles in the bitter cold to save herself 30 cents.

Granted, there have been gains made in addressing poverty, but it’s a small comfort when faced with the harsh reality that thousands of people in our city cope daily with the same situation as Claudette.

As United Way of Winnipeg’s 2009 Campaign Chair, this story haunts me. Because with just weeks left to conclude our campaign and reach our fundraising goal, we still have nearly $2 million left to raise. We haven’t been this far behind at this time of year since the recession of 1991.

But it’s not failing to reach a goal or attain some number that concerns me. It’s failing to have the resources necessary to reach into our community with essential programs and services just when they’re needed most. It’s failing to be able to reach Claudette and hundreds like her. It’s failing ourselves.

In making my gift to United Way this campaign, it didn’t come down to how much I was prepared to give, or what my tax savings would be. It came down to the cold hard question: "How many families are we prepared to let live in poverty? How many children are we comfortable with not having a safe place to go after school?"

Frankly, even one is too many.

You can do something to ensure just one more child has shelter from the threats of gangs and drugs, or one family can get the support needed to become financially self-sufficient.

Whether you give a little or a lot, whether you’ve supported United Way in the past or not, please give this year. We can show Claudette, our fellow Winnipeggers, and all of Canada that we really do care. That we will not accept that even one family lives in poverty in our city.

Without you, there would be no way.
 

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