Mike Roberts

Mike Roberts

United Way tees off drive

Fundraising season kicks off with emphasis on smaller donations of time and money

Touching hearts without tugging on wallets is the goal of this year’s United Way campaign, which kicked off Thursday at the Ramada Inn and Suites.

“We find that so many people just think about that large number and don’t think their contribution makes a difference or has an impact because the numbers seem so large,” said Marla O’Brien, executive director of the United Way Central South Okanagan Similkameen at the annual breakfast meeting.

“I think the other organizations have gone away from the thermometer style of encouraging people to contribute.

“Donors these days want to know what’s actually happening with their money and we need to demonstrate that, rather than just talking about the money.”

Master of ceremonies for the morning session was Mike Roberts, well-known, former CHBC TV broadcaster who retired recently.

“This morning we want to put the focus back on support and back on the impact of inviting you to participate,” said Roberts, who has been involved with United Way for over 25 years and is the longtime emcee of the OSNS Child Development Centre telethon.

“We’re striving to get the participation with the United Way up a little bit. For example, if simply another one per cent of Penticton’s population participated that would be 400 people giving, volunteering and acting for the better of the community.”

He added while it sounds like a small number, what could be achieved as a result of the ripple affect would be, “extraordinary.”

“So this year we ask you to commit to participating,” said Roberts.

Those attending the breakfast also had an opportunity to hear from representatives of the agencies supported by United Way about how important the assistance is for the service they provide.

Speakers included Patricia Tribe of the Success by 6 program which works with families to help young children reach their full potential by school age.

Also speaking was Myrna Tischer who is overseeing the Better at Home program which helps seniors remain in their homes longer through the help of volunteers.

“This is much more than just about what can be achieved with money,” said O’Brien.

“It’s about how people can participate in a variety of different ways rather than just the dollar thing.”