Banner year for United Way

United Way Morden and District members Andrew Plett, Alex Fedorchuk, Harvey Kinsman, and Terry Gibson.

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It was an unprecedented year for United Way of Morden & District as the organization raised the most funds in their 51 year history.

The organization looked back on a successful 2018 at their AGM on May 23.

United Way raised $92,800 last year, and granted out $85,835 to meet every grant request that came in.

“There were 20 requests this last year and at highest we’ve had probably 25 or 26,” Fedorchuk said. “But still we had almost a $7,000 surplus.”

Fedorchuk has been on the board for 19 years, and he said United Way has never been able to come close to fulfilling all requests.

Fedorchuk said part of the reason came from having a full board of nine members plus a youth member, and their effort was also helped along by support from the school division through their payroll deduction plan.

“We recruit,” he said. “We’re not shy about asking people. I think people know that we do some pretty good work, so that’s one of the reasons that people are willing to join.”

Some of the requests included $10,000 to Gateway Resources Inc., $7,000 to Eden Mental Health Centre, $9,000 to Boundary Trails Health Centre for palliative and spiritual care and $10,000 to Youth for Christ Morden.

The amount granted includes $1,500 in scholarships: $1,000 to Morden Collegiate and $500 to Nellie McClung Collegiate in Manitou. The organization also funded two bursaries of $750.

United Way maintained a high profile through continued events like Koats for Kids, Skate with Santa and their second annual Combine Pull during Morden Corn and Apple Festival.

“That was probably our best new idea,” Fedorchuk said. “The bleachers are full of people, there’s five, six hundred people well before the starting time.”

“People know we’re around,” he added.

Koats for Kids had an unintended effect this year when United Way moved the bin to The Hub Community Centre. When they went to pick it up to store it over the summer, they found it full of donations for The Hub.

Now the organization is considering leaving the bin there for The Hub to collect donations.

“It’s just a wonderful idea,” Fedorchuk said. “Instead of a couple weeks every year it could be year round. It’s an accidental huge plus.”