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Renfrew County United Way donations make impact

By Celina Ip

RENFREW COUNTY – The Renfrew County United Way is continuing to fulfill its mission of empowering some of communities’ most vulnerable people and funding important social services that families rely on.


Each year, the United Way engages in campaigns to raise as much money as possible to help fund – through an application process – organizations that support children and youth, help build stronger communities and reduce poverty.

Ranging from counselling centres to community centres to pre-schools, the United Way supports innumerable local organizations that include The Grind, the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Hospice Renfrew and Salvation Army Youth Centre.

These agencies serve diverse groups and meet diverse needs, but they all have something in common. They all operate within the county and they all have goals that align with the Renfrew County United Way focus areas, as they work to address education, income and health needs in the area.

“When people are applying for grants, they have to show us that they are going to be trying to achieve one of the three goals under the focus areas,” said Pat Lafreniere, regional director. “We don’t just give money without knowing exactly what the outcomes to these programs are going to be. So when people apply, they’re judged basically on criteria that we have set from studies we have done in the area. It doesn’t just go by what we like or don’t like, it's based on statistics and on what are the real critical needs in our community.”

The United Way’s first focus area is ‘healthy people and strong communities’ and it is geared towards providing programs that improve access to social and health-related support services while supporting community engagement, integration and settlement. The second is ‘from poverty to possibility’ which is aimed at providing programs that meet basic human needs and help people break free from poverty. The final focus area is ‘all that kids can be’ which is geared at programs that improve access to early childhood learning, after-school physical activity and literacy development programs to help keep kids stay engaged in school.

The Renfrew County charities receiving United Way funds for 2017 to 2018 include: $6,000 to the Arnprior Family Pre-School, $40,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Pembroke, $20,000 to the Kilalloe Community Resources Centre, $15,000 to Hospice Renfrew, $25,000 to Family and Children’s Services of Renfrew County, $20,680 to North Renfrew Family Services, $5,000 to the Petawawa Military Family Resource Centre, $25,000 to the Robbie Dean Family Counselling Centre, $16,000 to Salvation Army Youth Centre and $25,000 to The Grind Coffee House.

“United Way funding assists almost 8000 people right here in Renfrew County, or one in 13 people,” said Lafreniere. “Those we help are people you may know, your colleagues, your family, your neighbours and your friends. We are grateful to our many donors and volunteers who give so generously.” 

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