United Way of Saskatoon raises $6.2 million in 2013: Funds will be used to support United Way programs in and around Saskatoon

Reported by Trelle Burdeniuk, NewTalk 980 CJME, January 23, 2014 - The United Way of Saskatoon and Area has more than six million reasons to smile after the 2013 Community Campaign raised $6.27 million.

"(It's) a phenomenal amount of money and I think I do need to remind everyone we start at zero, we don't start with anything in our back pocket," said Sheri Benson, the CEO of the United Way of Saskatoon and Area.

Volunteers started the 2013 campaign in March talking to employees, corporations and donors. Although this total falls slightly short of the $6.5 million set for 2013, Benson said all the money is a huge help to fund a fund a variety of programs.

"We are the lead on the plan to end homelessness, so some of that money will be able to be invested in that plan as we move forward," she said, adding money will also go to agencies they fund including the YWCA, crisis supports and Big Brothers and Sisters.

A portion of this money will also fund the upkeep and expansion of 211 Saskatchewan. The online service helps connect people with various services they may be seeking out.

Since October, Benson said the website has had 5,000 hits with the top three searches being mental health, child care and housing.

"That really helps us think what are some of the issues, where are people going, what kinds of things should we be investing in. All that information will be able to help us when we make the decision about the $6.27 million," Benson said.

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