This From our Sponsor United Way of Lower Mainland

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Dear Jennifer,

Happy New Year! And, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for supporting your community. Together, we strengthen vital connections that make our local communities stronger and more connected for everyone, even when social distancing keeps us apart. We hope you were able to enjoy some quiet time over the holidays with those in your safe bubble.

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In this cold weather, we typically reach for our warm socks, coats, boots, hats and gloves before we venture outside. Some people do not have access to those warm items and with that in mind, United Way applied for and received a grant from the Federal Government’s Reaching Home Program. Locally, this program is managed by the City of Chilliwack, who’s officially a “Designated Community” and administers Reaching Home Chilliwack, investing federal funding in local shelters, programs and initiatives to address homelessness in Chilliwack. That funding is allowing United Way to currently work with front-line partners like Cheam and Skwah First Nations, PCRS, Cyrus Center, Salvation Army, Ruth and Naomi’s and The Portal along with local advocates in our community, to deliver coats and boots that actually fit those who need them, and to help dozens of homeless people in our community keep warmer and dryer. Mark’s, the Canadian clothing and footwear company, is our supplying partner on this project. As a start, 750 pairs of merino wool socks have already been distributed and orders have been taken for the first round of boots, coats, hats, and gloves. More updates to follow!

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With the help of a United Way Local Love grant, Amicus Housing Society was very festive over the Holidays! They held a lighting display, where all the participants received a prize for their lovely displays. Next, they had a cookie bake-off with many, many cookies entered in for the chance to win one of four prizes! These wonderful baked goods were then packaged into individual parcels by volunteers and safely shared with the 46 units in Amicus Place. Finally, some of the residents participated in a socially distanced Christmas Caroling sing-along with hot chocolate and more baked goods provided outside in the fresh, crisp air on December 23rd. Lots of fun for the residents of Amicus Place in Abbotsford!

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A resident of Mission, Bryce Schaufelberger, was the recent recipient of a United Way Local Love grant for his work as a self-advocate for those with diverse abilities. Bryce manages the www.selfadvocatenet.com website whose purpose “is to help Self Advocates to learn about … [equal opportunities for] inclusion in our local communities and around the world”. It acts as a voice for people with disabilities and provides resources and information about health, housing, relationships, employment opportunities and how to get a job, among other topics. Right now, Bryce is supporting local writers and advocates by posting their stories of how they are coping with challenges related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Great job, Bryce!

Thank you for your continued support. As we work through this extraordinary time, we know that we are better together—together, we can keep our communities strong, and ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens.

In community and kindness,

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P.S. For more amazing stories, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have any questions on how to support your community, connect with me at yvest@uwlm.ca.

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