United Way Chatham-Kent co-chairs Kelly Bayda and Aimee June, January 21, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

United Way Raises Close To $2M

United Way Chatham-Kent has announced that its annual fundraising efforts have raised close to $2-million.

The local organization along with community members gathered late Thursday afternoon to announce the $1,852,699 total. The total comes up $162,301 short of their $2,015,000 goal.

“It’s unfortunate that we couldn’t reach the goal but we know that this has set the pace now for the next five years to get to $2.5-million,” says campaign co-chair Kelly Bayda. “[The goal] was slightly higher than last year. It was about a 5% increase so it was definitely not out of reach, however there were other competing attentions in the community — all of them very worth while.”

However, because the United Way was unable to meet its intended goal, some organizations that depend on funding may be impacted.

“We may see longer wait times, we may see reduced services, reduced hours, reduced staffing,” says Bayda. “I know [the United Way] will work as they can to ensure that it doesn’t happen, but the funds raised are just enough to balance their budget.”

Bayda says despite falling short of their goal, they are not disappointed with the outcome.

“There are so many worthwhile priorities in the the community. It’s a just a matter of having our community members prioritize for themselves which ones they wanted to support,” she says. “It’s just a matter of making sure that we go the message out and the information out about what the United Way does.”