An archive of the Way to Go! newsletters that were published in 2014.

January 2014

Way to Go! December 2013

Happy New Year!

Chinese New Year is the longest and most important celebration in the Chinese calendar. The Chinese New Year 4712 – the Year of the Horse – begins January 31, 2014. Chinese months are counted by the lunar calendar, with each month beginning on the darkest day. New Year festivities traditionally start on the first day of the month and continue until the 15th, when the moon is brightest.

Legend has it that in ancient times, Buddha asked all the animals to meet him on Chinese New Year. Twelve came, and Buddha named a year after each one. He announced that the people born in each animal's year would have some of that animal's personality.

United Way of Peel Region wishes all who celebrate the lunar New Year a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Horse!

Leading community research to better understand mental health services available to Peel residents

One in five people in Canada will experience a diagnosable mental health illness in their lifetime; in Peel that represents 259,362 residents.

Concerned about the impact of mental illness on poverty in Peel, United Way commissioned and led a year-long initiative to to better understand the mental health services available to the residents of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon. The research focused on how people access and navigate services and supports. Peel’s cultural diversity was also a central consideration.

On January 22, 2014, together with our 10 project partners, we released the final report, Mapping the Mental Health System in Peel Region: Challenges and Opportunities.

Key highlights from the report identify:

  • Very few services in Caledon, a predominantly rural area of Peel that is quickly evolving into populated suburbs;
  • Brampton and Mississauga, the urban centres of Peel, are lacking services that are proportionally necessary to meet the needs of a large and growing population;
  • Wait lists for services are very long – a year or more – and in some cases services are just not available in the Region;
  • There are serious gaps in the system in providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services;
  • Language barriers, cultural insensitivity and feelings of shame (stigma) often prevent individuals from reaching out for support.

The report presents 25 recommendations to improve different aspects of the local system to make it easier for people to navigate and access mental health services in Peel. The project committee is reviewing the recommendations and prioritizing them to create a strategy for region-wide improvements to the mental health system.

To read the report visit


Campaign Kudos!

  • …to Central West Community Care Access Centre for their most succcessful United Way campaign ever!
  • …to the unionized and non-unionized workers at Ford Motor Company in Brampton and Oakville for your $51,000 contribution to this year’s campaign!
  • Mondelēz Canada for helping to make the P&G Warehouse sale a humongous success!
  • …to P&G Wella Salon Professionals for raising over $13K at their public product sale!
  • …to UNIFOR Local 26 for doubling their support this year!
  • …to University of Toronto at Mississauga for exceeding their goal and raising over $75,000!

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Join us

BUY YOUR TICKETS TODAY - Thursday, February 6, 2014!

United Way’s 2013 Community Achievement Celebration

Come join us as we celebrate “A Fusion of Flavour” at the Mississauga Convention Centre.

Each one of us have brought our flavour to the 2013 campaign to make great impact in our community!



© 2014 United Way of Peel Region

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February 2014

Because of YOU...

Two-year neighbourhood grants announced

Because of generous donors like you, United Way of Peel Region’s Strong Neighbourhood Grant Program is investing $240,000 over two years in three vulnerable neighbourhoods – one in each of Peel’s municipalities. The projects are:

  • The Journey Neighbourhood Centre (Brampton)
  • The Exchange (Caledon)
  • The Sheridan/Clarkson Neighbourhood Family Program (Mississauga).
The Strong Neighbourhood Grants support community integration, improve access to services and supports, and ensure residents have a say in the solutions implemented in their own backyard. Each program provides a platform for residents to engage and inform programs to build positive changes in their lives.

“By strengthening neighbourhoods, we are empowering people,” says Shelley White, CEO of United Way. “The Strong Neighbourhood Grants are an investment in our community that will truly help change the story of poverty in Peel.”

The Journey Neighbourhood Centre (Brampton)
This Neighbourhood Centre will provide access to some much needed services like a homework club for children, parenting education and support services, seniors drop in, community safety workshops and addiction support right in the Ardglen neighbourhood.

“The support from United Way will really empower us to move forward in our work in the Ardglen neighbourhood,” said Jamie Holtom, Chair of the Journey Neighbourhood Centre. “Through cooking classes for teens, homework clubs for kids, free family nights providing no cost entertainment, and many other programs that include job creation and home ownership, we hope to work to bring positive change to this community.”

The Exchange (Caledon)
By engaging residents in discussions about what kinds of services they need, and how The Exchange can respond to the changing needs of the residents, a community facilitator will build community connections and synergy to inform new programs and services offered through a community hub.

"Nine Caledon organizations are very eager to work closely with one another in support of The Exchange, our new community hub," says Monty Laskin, CEO of Caledon Community Services. "We are all grateful to the United Way of Peel Region for their encouragement of important neighbourhood development work in Caledon."

The Sheridan/Clarkson Neighbourhood Centre (Mississauga)
This project is a coalition of agencies that will provide services to engage the entire family. The Neighbourhood Centre builds on the previous work which identified the need for services to link adults to employment and income generation. In addition, through this funding, youth will be able to attend a youth center on five afternoons of the week.

"The Strong Neighbourhood Grant will help many families who are struggling with poverty, unemployment, isolation and inactivity,” said Andrea Basic, Program Manager, Polycultural Immigrant and Community Services. “The continuation of the Sheridan Neighbourhood project is crucial for the neighbourhood providing programs for a complete".

Read the full media release for more information.

It's because of you: Shelley's blog

A lot of things happened today:
  • A young girl went to an after school program; a safe space with a positive role model that she could relate to
  • A man who was hungry went to a community kitchen to learn how to cook a healthy meal
  • A single mother and her children were able to get away from an abusive partner
  • An individual suffering from mental illness was able to talk to someone and get over the shame of stigma
These things, and so many others, are happening everyday – and they are transforming our community into a better place, one person at a time. And do you know why these things happen? Read more.

Recent News

2013 Spirit Award Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Spirit Awards! Click here for photographs and details.

Youth Spirit Award Winners
Congratulations to the winners of the 2013 Spirit Awards! Click here for photographs and details.

Important Dates

Registration opens for Day of Caring
March 5, 2014

International Women's Day
March 8, 2014

Mississauga Marathon
May 3-4, 2014

Day of Caring
May 22, 2014

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March 2014

Because of YOU...

“You never think it’s going to happen to you. ‘Post-partum depression’ went from being a small section covered off in pre-natal classes, to my real life.”

After giving birth to her first child, Maria was house-bound, lonely and depressed.

“When my husband would leave for work, I would cry. I was afraid to be alone at home with my child.”

After coming to terms with the issues she was facing, Maria was referred to the Caledon Parent Child Centre.

Mariawas able to be a part of several United Way-funded programs at the centre, free of charge. She learned meditation exercises and coping mechanisms. She met other mothers who shared their experiences and reassured her that she was not alone. She was welcomed into a facility that allowed her to voice her concerns, and let her know that she was normal for feeling the way she did. Sandhya found a support system that changed her life.

“They saved me,” Maria smiled, holding back tears. “I owe my life to them.”

Because of you, United Way is able to change one life at a time and ultimately build a better, stronger community for everyone. Donations to United Way’s Community Priorities Fund support a network of programs that help people like Maria – a first time mother learning how to take care of herself and her family.

To learn more about the Community Priority Fund investments United Way of Peel Region is making in 2014/15 because of you, click here.

Read the full media release for more information.


Volunteers are vital: our blog

Any investment made in Peel must be strategic, meaningful and impactful. It has to matter. It has to create change.

That’s what our donors expect of us and that’s what we are committed to delivering.

Since January, United Way has been doing its due diligence to ensure your generous donations to the Community Fund are invested wisely in community- and capacity-building initiatives across Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga.

Volunteers played a vital role in this work.

A team of dedicated volunteers devoted their time and energy to the allocations process, helping our Campaign Cabinet and Community Investment team make difficult investment decisions within Peel. This group was responsible for reviewing applications based on several criteria, including: outcomes and performance measures, financial review, collaboration across the sector, accessibility/inclusivity, governance and accountability, and management. These volunteers went above and beyond to help ensure donor dollars - your dollars - are invested wisely and strategically in our community. Read more.

Recent News

2014/15 Funding Announcement
United Way of Peel Region announces $7.2 million in Community Priorities Fund investments Click here for details.

Volunteer Opportunities
There are numerous volunteer opportunities at United Way of Peel Region right now. Click here for details.

Important Dates

National Volunteer Week
April 6-12, 2014

National Day of Mourning
April 28, 2014

Mississauga Marathon
May 3-4, 2014

Day of Caring
May 22, 2014

© 2014 United Way of Peel Region

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April 2014

YOU saved a life...

Stephen* is a young man that was referred to United Way-funded programs at ECLYPSE Youth Centre by the Youth Justice Committee, to complete 100 hours for court purposes. The first day that Stephen came to ECLYPSE Youth Centre, a program of Rapport Youth and Family Services, he made it very clear he didn’t want to be part of the program. He distanced himself from staff and peers.

While participating in the Modern Batik Art program, the facilitators and staff noticed Stephen’s hidden artistic talent. His first piece captured the hardships of gang relation and the positivity in leaving such a lifestyle behind. His piece spoke strongly to all of the staff. Everyone at ECLYPSE found it necessary to give Stephen the positive feedback he deserved, reinforcing his talent and helping him to develop confidence. He took this confidence and used it as a tool to further develop his art skills and step outside of his comfort zone.

With continued reinforcement from staff and peers, Stephen started opening up, building relationships with staff and peers. In doing so his art became more intricate, abstract, and expressive. He was comfortable enough to express that if it wasn’t for the United Way-funded program and the relationships he made at ECLYPSE, he would probably be dead or in deep trouble.

Today, Stephen has completed his 100 hours and has had his charges dropped. He continues to come to ECLYPSE every Wednesday for Modern Batik, to this day. He will also have a piece displayed at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) in Brampton as part of National Youth Arts Week.

Because of you – a life was changed. A life was empowered. A life was saved.

*Stephen is a pseudonym to protect the identity of the client.

Your gift is making an impact! To read our 6-month report, click here.


National Day of Mourning: our blog

April 28th was the National Day of Mourning. It’s a time when workers, their families, politicians and other members of the public come together to remember those who have lost their lives or have been injured in work-related incidents or occupational diseases.

It’s a very important day for workers. It is also a perfect time to reflect on the partnership United Way has with the labour movement. We share a common vision of healthy, safe, prosperous and respectful communities, collectively defined and achieved with a wide range of social and public services that are accessible, universal and of highest quality. Both movements have a grassroots, collaborative approach to our work; ultimately, we bring together individuals to create social change.

But the issues we face are too complex to face alone, and they require a collective effort, with labour and from Government at all levels.

Read more here.

Recent News

2014/15 Campaign Chair Announcement

United Way of Peel Region is thrilled to announce Chuck Hounsell as Chair of the 2014 Campaign. Click here for more information.

Lifetime Volunteer Honoured
Bill Goursky, a United Way volunteer since 1957, was honoured with the Lifetime Volunteer Achievement award by Volunteer MBC. Click here for more.

Important Dates

Mississauga Marathon
May 3-4, 2014

Mental Health Awareness Week
May 5-9, 2014

Day of Caring
May 22, 2014

Annual General Meeting
June 24, 2014

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June 2, 2014

Way to Go! June 2, 2014

Because of YOU...

With Father’s Day around the corner, we want to celebrate the impact you’ve had on one of our neighbours who is doing everything he can to be the best dad:

Carl is a single father living in Caledon with his young child. He hit some hard times..

“I felt like a loser,” said Carl of his life just a few years ago. “Now, life is amazing.”

Carl was able to find hope in the United Way-funded programs at the Exchange . While Carl was there, he took advantage of several programs to help him get on his feet. Counsellors helped to assess Carl’s situation and give him peace of mind by connecting him to other services such as Caledon Parent-Child Centre – another United Way-funded agency.

Today, Carl and his son have an amazing relationship, and he credits the United Way for making him a stronger parent. “Now, I can really feel the energy off of my son. He always wants to hang out with me. He’s always happy.”

Read more about Carl’s story and how he is becoming a stronger parent who is working his way out of debt, with your help.

Will you act for Peel?: our blog

Awareness and advocacy are key elements in creating change. United Way of Peel Region has become a trusted voice for our community in influencing and shifting public attitudes, policies and systems. With over 45-years of non-partisan engagement with all levels of government, United Way advances our community's social issues: community's poverty, accessible social services, affordable housing, early childhood development and neighbourhood revitalization.

But we can't do it alone.

On Thursday, June 12, you have an opportunity to ACT for our community by voting in the provincial election.

Peel Region is a fast growing population, our poverty rates are on the rise and there is a lack of community programs and services:

  • Our residents can wait for up to two years for mental health services.
  • Counselling programs are available sporadically across the Region.
  • Many youth programs have limited reach, limited service hours and are not located in high-need neighbourhoods.
  • Many people have to travel outside the Region for service. Transportation is a huge barrier.
  • Precarious employment affects 40% of the labour market in the GTA and income inequality is growing across the Region.
Read more.

2013/14 Annual General Meeting - Tuesday, June 24, 2014 | 7:30 a.m.-9 a.m. | Join us and discover how your  contributions are making an impact on the health of our community.

Recent News

Top 20 under 20
Congratulations to Wali Shah on being named one of Canada’s Top 20 Under 20 by Youth in Motion. Wali has been an active member of United Way’s Speaker’s Bureau and has inspired so many people in Peel by sharing his powerful story. Click here for details.

Day of Caring
Hundreds of volunteers from companies across Peel came together on May 22 to reinvigorate 23 community spaces across the region. The event was sponsored by Mondelēz Canada. Click here for details.

The Imagination Playground
Canada Dry Mott’s generously donated The Imagination Playground to The Journey Neighbourhood Centre. It made its highly anticipated arrival on May 8! Relive the event by checking out the pictures. Click here for details.

SAYES event
On May 24, over 70 high school students participated in the South Asian Youth Empowerment Symposium. This powerful and interactive session brought together young people to focus on issues impacting the South Asian Youth in our community. Topics covered increased substance abuse, mental health and intergenerational conflicts that many South Asian Youth are facing in the community. The students appreciated exploring solutions to those difficult situations. United Way’s South Asian Council was honoured to partner with Peel Multicultural Council, Peel Children’s Aid Society, Peel District School Board and Punjabi Community Health Services in this important initiative.

Important Dates

Provincial Election
June 12, 2014

Employee Campaign Chair Bootcamp
Choose the date that works best for you!
June 16, July 23, August 26, September 9

Ride Don't Hide
June 22, 2014

Annual General Meeting
June 24, 2014

Canadian Multiculturalism Day
June 27, 2014

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June 25, 2014

Way to Go! June 25, 2014

Because of YOU...

We are proud to share with you United Way of Peel Region’s 2013/14 Investing for Impact Report. It outlines real change you’ve helped to realize in our community over the past 12 months.

Last year we introduced a new performance measurement process for our 2013/14 funding cycle. We can now report real-time data by individuals served, geography, disability and mental health.

But it is more than just data.

Every individual number represents a life, and behind that life is a real story, and more often than not, a complex one that touches on several issues.

For United Way, real change is about creating lasting, measurable improvements in the social conditions, health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. These are changes that happen over time as a result of efforts at multiple levels.

With the contributions of so many – from donors to volunteers, agencies to the private sector, and labour to government – we’ve been able to offer help and hope to the people of Peel who are most vulnerable. Together, we are making smart investments that create real change in so many lives – not just for today, but for the long-term.

Thank you again and have a safe summer.

Judy Burns
Chair, Board of Directors

Shelley White
President and CEO

Thank you for helping the Ardglen Community: our blog

Thank you to the generous individuals and organizations who have supported the victims of the fire in the Ardglen community in Brampton. Together, we have raised an incredible $46,771 (and counting) to help the families impacted by this tragedy. This is truly a testament to the strength of our community and compassion for our residents.

In a truly united effort, the community has rallied together to provide support for all those affected by responding to the immediate and long term needs of the residents. In addition to many generous companies, members of Unifor 1285 at Chrysler decided to go above and beyond. Read more on our blog.

Recent News

United Way of Peel Region Says Thanks a Million to GE Canada and PepsiCo Canada
United Way of Peel Region said thanks a million to GE Canada and PepsiCo Canada for each raising more than $1-million for the 2013 United Way Centraide Canada Campaign.

The Thanks a Million Award recognizes the organizations that have raised $1-million or more in support of United Way Centraide in one campaign year. Click here to read more.

Important Dates

Canadian Multiculturalism Day
June 27, 2014

Employee Campaign Chair Bootcamp
Choose the date that works best for you!
July 23, August 26, September 9

Campaign Kick-off
September 18, 2014

Living on the Edge
October 2, 2014

July 2015

Swimming pools and playing in the park. Two things that kids love to do in the middle of summer. And two things that a lot of people take for granted.

With the sun beating down, Patricia dropped off her daughter at a baby-sitter before coming to share her story. She smiled as the interview began. And with a straight face, she looked at me and said, “I am a two-time survivor of abuse.”

Patricia grew up in a difficult household, suffering from abuse and neglect as a child. This played a large role in her life, and she dealt with the effects long into adulthood. They started to affect her relationships as she fell into familiar patterns. Patricia was in an abusive relationship, but didn’t have the strength or support to leave.

After their daughter was born, the abuse from her partner escalated. It was at this point that Patricia decided to make a change. Patricia knew, first hand, the effects that growing up in an abusive household can have on a child. “This is not the life I wanted for myself, and more importantly, this is not the life I wanted for her.”

After leaving the relationship, Patricia found herself in a shelter – and this was where she first encountered United Way funded programming at Catholic Family Services. “When I lived in abuse, it happened behind closed doors,” Patricia reflected. “No one knew about it, so I felt like I was going through it alone.”

The programs at Catholic Family Services helped Patricia by supporting her throughout her healing process from the very beginning. “This program lets me know that there is someone out there that can take care of me – someone to listen to me and for me to cry with.”

Breaking the cycle of abuse is a difficult task. “When you leave your abuser, that’s not the end of the story,” Patricia pointed out, “It’s actually the beginning of a long journey of self-empowerment.” It takes an extreme amount of effort, but once the cycle is broken, the healing process can begin. Patricia has even gotten to a point where she feels strong enough to become a mentor within the CFS program.

“When you help another person, you also help yourself,” said Patricia. “It becomes a part of your own process.” Patricia smiled and told me that to help people, is to multiply goodness. “It builds stronger communities, and stronger families.”

With the help of Catholic Family Services, Patricia is embracing her possibility for a better life. “I can’t say that I am at my fullest. But if I compare myself now, to the person I was when I first left him – I am completely changed. Not only because of the suffering – but because of the learning and empowerment.”

Today, Patricia and her daughter are thriving and are continuing to build a better life – finally enjoying summer days together. “You’re not just helping one person. You’re helping generations to come – positively affecting the relationships that they are having.”

Over 4900 pounds of food, a handful of caring employees, and one Christmas tree in the middle of July! This was the scene at ConAgra over the last few weeks.

“Christmas in July” was an idea brought forward by the ConAgra Cares Committee, and Atul Sarathy, a student doing a co-op placement at ConAgra, volunteered to lead the initiative. They wanted to highlight the fact that most people only think about donating food during the holiday season, but that there is a need in our community throughout the year. “Not many people knew about food shortages during the summer,” says Sarathy. “This was a good learning!” Read more.


Register for 2014 Kick off on September 18

Employee Campaign Chair Boot Camp. Free sessions on August 26 & September 9. Agency only session on September 11.

Living on the Edge (taking a look at poverty) October 2, 2014 | 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Region of Peel's 5K for United Way on Saturday, October 25, 2014


August 2015

As August comes to a close, the stores fill up with Back-to-School shoppers. It’s a tradition.

As Peel’s young people return to school next week, preparing for another stimulating year, many are hard at work planning for the next round of the Young Leaders Council’s Youth in Action Grants.

Youth in Action Grants are a one-time grant opportunity focused on youth-led projects that offer creative youth-initiated ideas to address community issues in Peel Region. Youth and/or groups of youth between the ages of 14 and 24 are eligible to apply for this grant. Requests can be made for up to $2,000 per project.

In 2013-2014, we were able to fund 12 amazing youth-led projects! From male and female empowerment symposiums, to art workshops. From after school programs to mental health awareness projects. Last year’s group offered a creative and refreshing way to look at issues in Peel Region through the eyes of youth.

This year, the Young Leaders Council will be accepting Youth in Action applications from August 29 – October 16, 2014.

Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to attend a Youth In Action Information session. Here, you will meet members of the YLC, and receive tips and pointers to strengthen your application. To learn more about the information sessions and receive an application, please connect with Philip Manzano at

In a bold step towards redefining possibility in Peel, the Government of Canada recently announced that it will be investing more than $4,600,000 in funding throughout Peel Region through the Housing First initiative.

For a number of years, the Region of Peel has advocated the need to establish a national housing strategy that is predictable and sustainable. Alongside the 10-Year Housing Plan, the Housing First approach represents another component in meeting the needs of Peel's most vulnerable citizens and tackling the issue of homelessness in Peel. Read more.


Register for 2014 Kick off on September 18

Employee Campaign Chair Boot Camp. Free sessions on August 26 & September 9. Agency only session on September 11.

Living on the Edge (taking a look at poverty) October 2, 2014 | 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Region of Peel's 5K for United Way on Saturday, October 25, 2014

Name your price Tuesdays at Bubbletease. Proceeds to United Way Canada.

September 2015

On September 18, the Ardglen community in Brampton woke up to thunderous cheering from over 300 United Way supporters as United Way of Peel Region kicked off its 2014 Campaign.

In an inspirational morning, agency partners, donors, volunteers and Peel residents gathered to rally around the community chanting, “We Are Possibility!”

“A lot of things have happened in this neighbourhood; we saw that it needed some TLC,” said Jamie Holtom, co-founder of the United Way funded Journey Neighbourhood Centre. “We opened our doors, thanks to a Strong Neighbourhood Grant from United Way of Peel Region, and the response has been extraordinary.”

In June, the Ardglen community was the site of a devastating fire. Now it is the site of hope, compassion and possibility. Hundreds of volunteers rolled up their sleeves to revitalize the neighbourhood. From painting housing units, to planting trees, to putting together family packs – there was possibility in every corner of the neighbourhood.

With thundersticks in hand, and music ringing throughout the neighbourhood, United Way revealed its goal of changing over 203,000 lives in Peel by raising $12.4M in 2014!

This year’s campaign wraps up on December 31, 2014. You can help show that there is possibility from poverty by donating directly to United Way’s Community Fund at Together, we can make a difference in the lives of so many people.

Together, We Are Possibility.

Pictured above: Shelley White, CEO, United Way of Peel Region and Chuck Hounsell, 2014 Campaign Cabinet Chair

At United Way, we are often faced with a problem. To answer the question – what is United Way?

With an unwavering confidence, I am here to tell you exactly what we are: Together, We are Possibility!

Standing in the Ardglen neighbourhood today gives me such a range of emotions. On one hand, we are deeply saddened by the tragic events over the last year and a half - highlighted by the death of Kesean Williams in early 2013 and the devastating fire this past June.

But on the other, look around. Look at all of us. Standing together, united. Standing to make a difference, not only here but in every vulnerable neighbourhood across Peel. Read more.


Living on the Edge (taking a look at poverty) October 2, 2014 | 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Register today for Day of Caring on November 13.

Region of Peel's 5K for United Way on Saturday, October 25, 2014

Name your price Tuesdays at Bubbletease. Proceeds to United Way Canada.



October 2015

Poverty eliminated in Peel!

We'd like to make this headline come true. Unfortunately, for too many people, poverty is a reality that puts their lives and futures at risk.

Unfortunately, for too many people, poverty is a reality that puts their lives and futures at risk.

October 17 is the United Nation’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, a day to acknowledge the effort and struggle of people living in poverty by promoting concrete activities devoted to ending poverty. This year’s theme is: “Leave no one behind: think, decide and act together against extreme poverty.”

Think. When you think about poverty, do you think of disaster relief concerts or TV telethons for hungry children in faraway places?

Think again. Poverty is here. In Canada. In Ontario. Here in Peel Region – the cities of Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon - 13% of people live in poverty. Think about that.

Our communities are considered to be wealthy. Many of us assume there is no poverty here because we don’t see it. Because poverty isn’t visible doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

And there are growing gaps between the richest and poorest people and between neighbourhoods doing well and those falling behind. Think about the fact that 45% of our neighbourhoods are now considered low- or very low-income.

Think about the working poor. According to the 2014 National Payroll Week Research study, more than half of Ontario employees (56%) are living from pay-to-pay, only one paycheque away from being unable to pay their bills.

“Our clients don’t know when they will get paid next or be able to buy their next bag of groceries. Some have lost their homes and are sleeping in their cars with their children. United Way funding helps them get back on their feet, put food on the table and access affordable housing.” says Mark Keir, President, Labour Community Services of Peel.

Think about the children. In Peel, 17% of children live in poverty. A staggering 30% of kids entering senior kindergarten are ‘not ready to succeed in school.’ Think they deserve a better start?

Decide that you can make a difference. Decide to be part of the United Way’s comprehensive, preventive approach that helps kids thrive, builds strong communities and fights poverty. We focus on meeting immediate needs while getting at the underlying conditions that make people vulnerable.

Act. Do something about it.

Last year, we helped over 203,000 people in Peel Region have hope and the possibility of a better life. Help us make sure no one gets left behind. Donate today.

Together, We Are Possibility.

When I saw the headline, “Poverty eliminated in Peel Region” my heart jumped for joy. I wish this was really true. But hopefully, we’ll make it happen in my lifetime.

As a resident of Brampton for 13 years, I have been able to see the city grow. The infrastructure is beautiful, and it seems like there is constant development. That’s why it’s so hard to see the poverty – it’s truly hidden. The struggle to eliminate poverty within the region begins with acknowledging that poverty exists right here in Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga. Even though this region is full of growth and opportunity, this opportunity is not necessarily the same for everyone. There are families that are falling behind and a handful of neighbourhoods that need some TLC.

Of course, it’s upsetting to realize that poverty is so prevalent in our seemingly prosperous cities. But, the statistics don’t lie. They paint an unpleasant picture of a community where many are struggling.

I appreciated that this editorial was published in the midst of the municipal election. Given the complexity of poverty, it requires a whole community, not just one organization to be working on this broad and interconnected social issue. It’s great that so many voters had the opportunity to look at the candidates and ask “how are you going to make things better?”

Our municipalities need to be fully engaged in this work from the perspective that their policies, regulations, by-laws, funding and services and supports are critical to removing barriers and providing opportunities for individuals and families to live, work, and thrive in Peel.

As our political representatives and advocates, our city and regional councilors as well as Board Trustees, need to be fully aware of needs of constituents in their respective wards, but also at the macro level, especially those who are marginalized, disadvantaged and disenfranchised, many of whom are living in poverty, at the risk of falling into poverty or could be prevented from falling into poverty.

But what do you think about the issues of Poverty in Peel? Let us know how you can help us make this headline a reality.

Because of you...

Cristina is a single mother who struggled to put food on the table for her family:

“I didn’t have enough food for my children and for myself. My children would always ask – “Mom, aren’t you having dinner?” I would always reply that I wasn’t feeling well. Little did they know I didn’t have enough food to feed us all.”

Cristina was hospitalized as a result of poor nutrition. She weighed just 72 pounds.

When her children came to visit her in the hospital, Cristina could see the fear and concern in their eyes.

“Katelin, the apple of my eye, stuck to me like it was the last hugs and kisses she would ever receive from me. When my children left my bedside, a police officer approached me and asked what had happened. After hearing my conversation with my children, he said I was a beautiful person and my children were amazing”.

Cristina began to open up about her struggles and the officer, incredibly moved by her story, referred her to a United Way funded program - Cecil’s Kitchen. Over the next few days, he continued to check up on Cristina, urging her to seek support during this difficult time.

When Cristina left the hospital, she reached out to Cecil’s Kitchen. The staff were kind and welcoming right from the start - it wasn’t long before this program became a second home for Cristina and her children.

“My life has changed. My children and I are able to get hot meals, backpacks and school supplies. Today, I walk through these doors with a smile on my face and my head held high because I know on the other side of the room there are kind, loving and strong-willed people to help me and my family through this journey”.

Cristina is truly grateful for the support she continues to receive: “From the bottom of my heart and my children’s hearts...thank you.”

Because of you, Cristina and her kids have access to nourishing meals three times a day, 365 days a year.






December 2015

December 2014 Way to Go!

Dear Santa. Please bring me a warm winter coat. Love Jessie

Make Holiday Wishes Come True

Jessie really needs a warm winter coat. She’s only 6 years old, so she probably wouldn’t really ask Santa for that… But her mom sure would!

Cristina desperately wishes her family had enough to eat each and every month. Hudhayfah’s mom wishes her son could have the same learning opportunities as the other children in his school. Tamika’s mom just wants to know she’s safe and having fun after school.

I’m sure you’d agree: these are pretty basic wishes; wishes that many of us take for granted. And yet, these are real wishes from our neighbours—people living right here in your community who simply need a little extra help, especially during the holidays.

Thankfully, with help from our generous friends like you, United Way of Peel Region can make these wishes come true—and create positive change for people living in our community.

This holiday season, we're asking you to ‘put your Santa suit on’ and help
grant these simple wishes for people just like Jessie, Cristina, Hudhayfah and Tamika.

With your generous holiday gift today, United Way Peel Region can give them the support they need.

  • $50 will provide the gift of warmth to children like Jessie.
  • $100 will give kids like Tamika the gift of joy.
  • $390 will give youth like Hudhayfah the gift of a bright future.
  • $780 will provide the gift of a full tummy to families like Cristina’s.

And here’s the GREAT NEWS: when you send your gift to United Way Peel Region right away, it will be worth TWICE as much! That’s right: a generous donor has offered to match every gift made to this appeal. So no matter which gift you choose, it will have twice the impact—you’ll be making double the number of holiday wishes come true! Click here to give the gift of possibility.


Mississauga Board of Trade's 2014 Not for Profit of the YearAt the 2014 Business Awards of Excellence, hosted by the Mississauga Board of Trade, United Way of Peel Region was awarded the distinction of 2014 Not for Profit of the Year!

As the Chair of United Way’s board, a passionate volunteer and a long-time supporter of United Way, this honour is important to me on several levels. It is a validation of our work within Peel Region. It is also a recognition by the business community that an investment in United Way is a wise one and an opportunity to strengthen our relationships with the business community so that we may continue making an impact! Read more.


I can't say enough how vital the centre has been for me and my kids.

Because of you...

Kara didn’t know anyone in Bolton when her family moved from Niagara Falls with her husband and two year-old daughter Ruth. With her husband’s long hours, Kara found raising Ruth on her own difficult.

“My daughter is very strong and intense,” Kara explains. “I didn't know what to do or how to handle her.” Read more.



Register today for Day of Caring on November 13, 2014