United Way Perth HuronPictured (L to R): Campaign Co-chair Leslie Edney, UWPH Executive Director Ryan Erb and Campaign Co-chair Rob Edney at UWPH’s Spirit of Community Celebration held on March 21, 2024 (Photo provided by Chad Alberico, BA, Cert. Communications & Public Relations Specialist, Resource Development & Communications, United Way)

Volunteer Week a chance to celebrate those who give so much

United Way Perth Huron is getting ready to celebrate and highlight all its great volunteers during the upcoming Volunteer Week.

The week runs April 14-20, and Executive Director Ryan Erb says that getting to thank and show gratitude to their vast network of over 600 volunteers is incredibly important and special.

"If we didn't have volunteers we wouldn't be where we're at. We're so grateful for the 600 people that help the United Way Perth Huron every year. It's just incredible to think of how many people are involved in helping us in many different ways, and organizations like ours and the many not-for-profits across the region simply can not do their work without volunteers," Erb exclaimed.

Recently at the Spirit of Community Gala in Stratford, the United Way got to thank and award seven outstanding volunteers from the area.

"We got to thank Lee Anne Andriessen of North Perth, Andrea Bernard of Stratford and area, Don Dingwall of St. Marys and area, Tabatha Fisher of Goderich and area, Wendy Haggitt of Southern Huron, Susan Moffat from our Board of Directors and Patricia Smith of Northern Huron," Erb shared. "All these folks demonstrated what we would call the spirit of community and they worked incredibly hard to help us in so many ways."

Erb adds they also wanted to send a special shout out to their outgoing Campaign Co-Chairs Rob and Leslie Edney for their work over the last three years.

In terms of day-to-day operations, fundraising and beyond, Erb stresses that volunteers make the machine run.

"Our volunteer network of 600 people, about 500 of those are dedicated to raising money for us. So when you think about our campaign this year, $2.36 million raised, just an incredible effort but it doesn't just happen with a handful of staff, it happens because we have this network of volunteers across the region. We also have another 100 core volunteers helping us out with day-to-day efforts," Erb pointed out. "Whether it's working alongside us on the research projects we do and providing support and guidance, or whether it's at the board level helping us with the governance and organization and everything in between. The volunteers are the lifeblood of our organization and that's absolutely true for most not-for-profit organizations in this world."

Right now, Erb says United Way is working on new and important research to "fill the gaps" around understanding what the needs are of LGBTQ+ people in the region. That research project will be done over the next few months and will likely spill over into 2025.

There is also preparation being done for the annual campaign kick-off in September, as well as more work being done for the United Way's housing corporation, United Housing.

For more on each of the volunteer award winners, visit UWPH’s Facebook page during Volunteer Week: facebook.com/UnitedWayPH.

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