The Busy "Season" at United Way

At United Way our annual work calendar is broken down into three key segments:  January-April we finalize campaign numbers and work with NL Charities on our Community Fund application and investment process; from May to August we plan and prepare for our Fall Campaign cycle and throw a few events like Day of Caring into the mix; and September to December is GO-Time! 

Every September, there are things that signal the start of a “new year” for many.  Summer has ended; students are back in the classroom; the leaves start to turn; and United Way is back in the community and workplaces telling the story of the impact of the investments we are making to improve the lives of those most vulnerable in our Province.  


Since our Annual General Meeting in late September, we have been actively working with our community and workplace partners as they start their internal fundraising activities and special events. This often involves one of our staff members, along with an individual from one of the organizations that we have funded speaking to groups, large and small, about how their decision to support United Way impacts real people, making a real difference.

Participants of the Rabbittown Learners Program send a big thank you out on Thanksgiving to United Way donors for the grant that has given them a place to socialize and a kitchen to prepare meals (like a Thanksgiving breakfast!)

Robert Emberley (Parkinsons Society NL) with Laura and Julia, ExxonMobil campaign volunteer chairs just before Robert’s moving testimonial about how the Intensive Exercise Program funded through United Way’s Community Fund has improved his outlook and his fine motor skills.

Paul Thomey of the Eating Disorder Foundation of NL speaks to the employees of Deloitte about the Emotion Focused Therapy Program funded through a United Way Community Fund grant.


We also hosted our Annual Touton Slider Drive Thru for the fourth year, becoming a signature event on our calendar.  The Drive Thru event helps us launch into the Fall fundraising season with our taste buds satiated with the locally inspired breakfast.   This year, we prepared our largest number of orders yet, with almost 500 Breakfasts sold!  Once all our volunteers were fed, we had prepared 516 of our “famous” Touton Slider Breakfasts.  If you have not yet participated in this event, you need to get in early, as it sells out every year!  

For the uninitiated, picture this:  A perfectly pan fried touton, sliced in half and slathered with molasses butter.  Then, more fried goodness is added with an egg and a slice of bologna.  This is the Touton Slider.  Its served with a side of baked beans and a hot coffee.  This Fall event has become a tradition for workplaces to share a team breakfast. This year, to assist with this office tradition, we offered deliveries of orders of 10 or more, which ultimately ended up being about two-thirds of our orders!  We had a few hiccups with timing, but are hoping that we can iron out a few more frying pans so that we can maintain the quality and the quantity of breakfasts.  By the way, did you know the breakfasts are all prepared by volunteers on the morning of the event, starting at 5:30am?  We want to give a big shout out to those volunteers – this year we had two teams – one from the Canada Revenue Agency and the second from Bell Aliant.  We also receive support from McDonald’s (Topsail Rd & Kenmount Rd); Maple Leaf Foods (the Big Stick’s appearance always adds some fun!); and Bell Aliant.


Danny was the Egg Captain for the morning and provided eggcellent products.

The team of volunteers from Canada Revenue Agency have been in the kitchen EVERY YEAR! They take annual leave to participate and give their own personal time to ensuring we have a great event.

This year, we had a new team from Bell Aliant. From scooping 500 containers of beans; frying the baby bologna to shaping, proofing and slicing toutons, they chipped in and got it done!


United By Song, known as Songs of the City in other United Way communities, was a first time event for us.  It is also one that we definitely hope to host again.

United By Song celebrated our community through storytelling and song.  The event brought together four courageous storytellers who have triumphed with the help of United Way funding with four local artists and performers.  At the event, the audience heard the individual’s stories followed by original compositions inspired by their resilience and strength.  Together, they shone a light on the critical issues, diversity, possibility and talent found in our community. They united and inspired the audience in a way that only story and song makes possible.  

At United Way Newfoundland & Labrador, we know change happens. However, real change takes many hearts and hands.  We need as much help as we can get and more champions than we can count.  To those who have already joined us on that journey, we offer a sincere thank you. To those that are future donors or ambassadors, we extend a warm welcome.

The United By Song event was made possible through a regional collaboration between five United Way locations and with regional sponsorships from Atlantic Lottery Corporation, Rogers Communications and Scotiabank.  Locally, we received support from Coast 101.1 Classic Hits, Metro Pharmacy & Villa Nova Pharmacy.


If you are interested in seeing what this event was all about, you can watch it here!  You’ll hear Emma’s story of her struggles as an eleven year old with mental health issues and how she feels being involved with the music program at Project Grace “saved her life”.  You’ll hear Mitchell talk about the impact of having a Big Brother through Big Brothers Big Sisters impacted his path in life.  These stories, plus performances by Rachel Cousins & the Stella’s Circle Inclusion Choir; the band Weary;and the dreamy pop sounds of Hullo will give you a new perspective on how lives can be changed and ARE changed because individuals made the choice to support United Way’s Community Fund.  Its uplifting entertainment for your soul!


Christopher Osmond performs his original composition If I Can (So Can You) based on the story of Robert Emberley, who has been living with Parkinsons for 9 years. United Way funded the Intensive Exercise Program that Robert participates in which has helped improve his fine motor skills and has given him mechanisms to work through some of the symptoms of his disease.

Without our sponsors, regionally and locally, this event would not have been possible!

Adam Pike (pictured with his brother Luke) is a 17 year old student in Grade 12 at O’Donel High School. A month before his 5th birthday, Adam was diagnosed with a Medulloblastoma brain tumor. He told the story of how Candlelighters NL and Camp Delight changed his life from one of being the “kid with cancer” to just a normal kid who could go to camp and forget about his health issues – even for a few days.


We are gearing up for the second half of campaign season, and have a very exciting opportunity coming your way for Giving Tuesday (Tuesday December 3rd). 

If you have been considering supporting United Way, but aren’t sure how to do it, stay tuned to our social media for a way to get involved that will DOUBLE your impact!  


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Instagram: @UnitedWayNL

Twitter:  @UnitedWayNL

Facebook: @UnitedWayNL

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Always remember, that TOGETHER we can make change happen!