The Royal Bank kicked off the annual Cowichan United Way campaign in style Thursday, Sept. 21 by handing over a cheque for $4,500 at the annual community breakfast.
At the event, Signy Madden, executive director of United Way Central and Northern Vancouver Island, said that Cowichan Valley was renowned for its large number of generous donors to the United Way, especially the local banks.
She said that in the 2017/18 campaign the theme is “Local Giving, Local Results”, aiming particularly at the poverty experienced by too many Cowichan Valley children. In the Valley, 37 per cent of children under the age of six live in low income households.
“We have one of the highest child poverty rates in B.C. In some Cowichan neighbourhoods, up to half the children starting kindergarten are already behind.”
In addition, the waiting lists for many social services have only increased, she said.
According to the United Way, last year, 20 local programs helped kids, teens, adults, and seniors, 450 bus passes were provided for low-income families who needed a lift, eight family resource and food programs were supported, and many programs supported 1,375 seniors.
In addition to Madden, Dominic Rockall of the Clements Centre gave some specifics about the Family Resource Program offered through the Centre to help families of young children with special needs, and North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure thanked the United Way on behalf of a grateful community.