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United Way gives back to those who gave
The successful 2013 United Way campaign officially concluded Wednesday at Poplar Grove Winery with the Spirits of Gold Community Achievement Celebration.
Emceed by honourary co-chair Mike Roberts, businesses and organizations that stood out for their efforts during the year were recognized with special awards.
As well, the 100 audience members got to hear from people who were and continue to be helped by the United Way.
Campaign of the Year award went to the Revenue Canada Agency.
The organization was also the winner of the top workplace award for its contribution to the 2012 campaign.The United Way of South Okanagan Similkameen two years ago set a goal of raising $300,000 by 2015 and is already more than half way there.
“It is extremely important we recognize our volunteers and a our community partners and the people who actually make a financial contribution which is the spirit of the whole thing, giving back to the community and making an impact,” said Bruce Olsen, campaign chairman.
“We couldn’t do anything without them, it takes a whole community to rally around the things the United Way does, tries to impact and tries to lead.
“In every community it’s one of those tough things to try and get people to loosen up the purse strings a little bit.”
Particularly encouraging for Olsen is the growing support of young people.
“They may not be able to dig very deep in their pockets but boy I tell you our young people want to become engaged in giving back and have that social responsibility,” he said.
The chairman added the recent campaign had record-setting numbers in terms of donated hours.One of the new programs which helped boost those numbers was the Day of Caring, in which business employees do work such as cleanup or painting for organizations who help others.
“This is something that provides immediate gratification,” said Olsen.
Executive director Dennis Tottenham of the Penticton office of the Canadian Mental Health Association expressed his gratitude for the United Way’s help.
“We really couldn’t do it without them,” he said.
“The United Way is all about supporting community services and it really symbolizes what it is all about to come together to build a community.”
Other award winners for the 2013 campaign included: Skaha Ford, First Time Campaign; B.C. Automobile Association, Quantum Leap Participation; CIBC, Quantum Leap Giving; Burnco Rock Products, Change Starts Here and Penticton Lakeside Resort, In-Kind Donation.
Media recognition awards went to the Penticton Western News, Penticton Herald, Bell Media, Shaw Media and Castanet.