Complex issues require a coordinated response.

People accessing United Way funded programs are among us every day – they could be your co-workers, neighbours, friends or extended family members. When in crisis, they often require more than service to get the assistance they need.

At United Way, our focus is to ensure our community can access a strong and stable network of services at all times. We support local agencies, programs and services with sustained, long-term funding – and we work closely with these community partners to collectively address social issues facing our community. We have also partnered with bc211 to provide a confidential telephone, texting and online referral service connecting individuals to hundreds of community, social and government services.

When you support United Way, you are helping to ensure a continuum of services is available at all times for individuals, families, seniors, children and youth in neighbourhoods near you. Read our Community Investment Directory to learn more about the programs and services we fund.

Here is just one example of a family with multiple challenges:

Chris and Ashley have been together five years and are parents to a four-year-old daughter, Lucy. Although they’ve never felt rich, Chris’ employment as a welder and Ashley’s part-time position as a cashier at the local grocery store provided them with enough income to feel comfortable.

This all changed after Chris suffered a fall while working at a construction site. He is now on long-term disability. Without his steady income, Ashley has had to increase her hours and seek a second job, leaving her tired, stressed, and unable to spend as much time with Lucy as she would like.

Chris’ disability assistance covers less than half of the household expenses and with Ashley’s job paying barely above minimum wage, the couple feels as though they are drowning beneath the weight of utility payments, bills and rent. The cycle of stress is beginning to take its toll on their relationship and arguments about money seem to occur every week. Chris feels that he’s letting Ashley and Lucy down, while the pressure of being the sole household earner keeps Ashley awake at night. No matter how much she works, Ashley can’t seem to get ahead, and as her job doesn’t provide health benefits, a portion of monthly income must go towards Chris’ physical therapy sessions.

On the outside, Chris and Ashley seem to be holding it together, but their financial situation tells a different story. They feel trapped in a cycle that’s all too common to the ‘working poor.’ With little to no savings, low- wage employment, and an unexpected health crisis, the couple is only a pay cheque or two away from poverty. The strain is becoming unbearable and the couple doesn’t know who to turn to.

One single social service can rarely meet all of a family’s needs, but by giving to United Way, you support a network of services through specialized options for all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. One gift opens many doors. Please donate today.