This holiday season, let’s make sure everyone in our community gets to experience the sense of joy and optimism associated with this special time of year.
When we think ‘support local,’ our favourite neighbourhood shops tend to come to mind. But it can also mean uplifting people in your community who are struggling.
Whether it’s financial hardships, health issues, or emotional burdens, when someone’s going through a tough time, it has a ripple effect throughout the entire
community. When parents are stressed, kids feel it too. When seniors are lonely, it takes a toll on their health. When young people don’t have a safe place to call home, they have a hard time landing their first job.
United Way East Ontario believes addressing these struggles is key to nurturing resilient and supportive communities where everyone can thrive.
We’re all connected. We shine brighter together.
Since the pandemic, however, more people across our region have been dealing with chronic issues like poor mental health, poverty, homelessness, or isolation.
Demand for social services has skyrocketed. As a result, service providers have had a hard time keeping up due to staff burnout and a lack of resources.
Mental health continues to be a community-wide issue that is top of mind for us at United Way, and we know the rising cost of living has only added pressure for people who are already struggling this holiday season.
Often people experiencing the worst mental health also face barriers in getting help. When there aren’t enough places that feel safe, speak your language, or reflect your identity, it’s hard to know where to turn.
United Way is proud to work with frontline mental health workers and addictions services in our communities, to ensure people have access to timely and culturally appropriate care unique to them.
But we must do more to ensure the people in our communities that need support get it. And you can help.
United Way East Ontario can’t work in isolation. We need our community to support us as we tackle the root causes of these chronic and increasingly pressing issues.
By supporting United Way, you’re helping our partners integrate mental wellbeing support as part of already-existing services, like seniors’ day programs, after-school homework clubs, drop-in centres for youth facing homelessness, and more.
‘Supporting local’ this holiday season can be a gift to United Way that links people who are struggling with immediate mental health counselling.
Your gift gets seniors living alone connected to social groups close to where they live, and it means kids who need help keeping up in school get the tools they need to graduate.
So, as you walk the aisles of your favourite local shop this season and soak in that warm feeling of the holidays, we ask that you join us in spreading that joyful feeling with others who desperately need it.
Visit UnitedWayEO.ca/holiday to find out how you can make a difference today.
By Mark Taylor, vice-president, Resource Development, United Way East Ontario