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Renfrew County United Way will continue to evolve

By Sean Chase, The Daily Observer

Sean Chase/Daily Observer 
Renfrew County United Way executive director Pat Lafreniere addresses Renfrew County council on Wednesday.

Sean Chase/Daily Observer Renfrew County United Way executive director Pat Lafreniere addresses Renfrew County council on Wednesday.


The Renfrew County United Way's mission of empowering our most vulnerable people and providing funding important social services that families rely on continues to evolve.

Updating Renfrew County council on their current activities, Pat Lafreniere, executive director of Renfrew County United Way, said the not-for-profit keeps playing its significant role in identifying and addressing the needs of the community.

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, Boys and Girls Club of Pembroke, Robbie Dean Family Counselling Centre, Community Living Upper Ottawa Valley, Hospice Renfrew and Salvation Army Youth Centre. Lafreniere reassured County councillors that all monies that come through their annual fundraising campaign, which aims to reach $405,000 for 2017-18, stays local.

“We focus on investing resources where they are needed most and will have the greatest impact,” she said. “We are committed to having 100 per cent local impact.”

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. Lafreniere said the agency fundraises throughout the year as the needs are not seasonal adding the United Way also hopes to engage in partnerships to pursue common goals when it comes to aiding those in the community.

“Every dollar that we invest is a dollar saved in your budget so please consider partnering with us in the future,” Lafreniere said. “Life can change in the blink of an eye and many of us are lucky to have the supports. But what if you don't have those supports. United Way and donors are there to support those needs.”

The United Way is guided by strategies such as research, investing, advocacy and fundraising. The organization seeks to assist programs that provide access to health-related services, meet basic human needs, improve access to early childhood learning and after school physical activity, and help people break free from poverty, Lafreniere said.

“It's much, much deeper than what you see on the surface which is the fundraising,” she noted.

One of the major areas United Way will be focusing on is assistance to seniors. Lafreniere said a report on vulnerable seniors, being worked on jointly between the county and the City of Pembroke, will soon be released for the social services committee to review.

“In the next 15 years, the increase of seniors who are going to re-locate back to the county is staggering,” she said. 

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