Your Impact in St. Marys & Area
Together we improve lives through support for basic needs, service connection, advocacy, research and cultivating innovative initiatives.
United Way Perth-Huron helps here in the community you care about. Thanks to United Way, its partners and donors, vulnerable people in St. Marys and area have the chance for a brighter future including…
- 384 people called 211 or visited 211ontario.ca to connect with services
- 228 people received counselling
- 162 visits to access food
- 81 youth accessed the St. Marys Youth Centre
- 71 individuals with mobility issues accessed transportation
- 12 men accessed post-incarceration supports
- 6 children escaping violence counselled
#UNIGNORABLE Local Issues
Lack of Housing: A single bedroom rental is over $1,200/mo. 143 people are experiencing homelessness in Stratford, St. Marys and Perth County.
Low Income: About half of people with incomes in Perth-Huron earn less than a living wage ($37,674 annually).
Mental Health: By the time Canadians reach the age of 40, 1 in 2 have experienced a mental illness.
Access to Services: Navigating the local social service network is challenging, especially for our most vulnerable.
Intimate Partner Violence: Stratford/St. Marys police received 564 calls related to intimate partner violence in 2022.
Food Insecurity: 1 in 6 Canadian children live in a food insecure household. Food prices rose 7.4% in one year.
United Way is committed to cultivating innovative initiatives addressing root causes of local social issues. We research and advocate for a living wage, affordable housing and improved social assistance rates and services.
We also understand that long-term goals don’t solve the challenges of a person facing eviction next week, or the parent with empty cupboards and hungry children right now. To that end, we also fundraise and invest in programs to help ensure people get the immediate help they need.
Changing Local Lives
Thanks to United Way and a supported partner, Parker has the support she needs:
“I never thought this would happen to me. I’ve always worked hard and paid my way. Lately though, it’s been getting harder to make ends meet. Our rent has gone up. I have to drive out of town to work every day and it costs so much to fill up my car. My kids seem to need more the older they get. My wife started working outside the home and that helps, but we’re still just scraping by. It keeps getting harder and harder to pay all the bills and buy groceries every week. I started feeling a little desperate, but then a friend of mine told me about the equal access market in our town.
“At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to go. I’d never asked for help before and didn’t know what to expect. But everyone was so welcoming! You never feel judged, there’s always so much food to choose from and it doesn’t cost much, which really helps with money so tight. This market has made our lives a little easier.”
Community Renewal Company
United Way Perth-Huron’s Community Renewal Company is the region’s first entrepreneurial not-for-profit affordable housing provider. The Community Renewal Company will build and operate housing for people experiencing homelessness, people of low income and people able to pay market rates, creating sustainable developments where residents of all backgrounds live together.
Urgent Needs Fund
The Urgent Needs Fund is designed to support local residents in a time of crisis with funds for essentials such as rent, groceries, car repairs, medication and child care. United Way is also working for long-term change, lifting people beyond poverty while still ensuring their immediate, basic needs are met if something like this were to happen:
Maggie was sad and happy that her grandchildren were with her now. She was thrilled to be able to see them every day, but she was sad that her daughter was in such a bad place. Chris and Clare had arrived suddenly two days before with nothing but the clothes they were wearing. Maggie’s mind raced, thinking about her modest savings, wondering how she could afford the cost of clothes, toiletries, some toys and extra food. Probably $120 would do it, but she had to budget carefully over a couple months; so extra on groceries now, one extra set of clothes…
Last year, 25 people in St. Marys and area accessed the Urgent Needs Fund.
St. Marys Community Outreach Worker
The St. Marys Community Outreach Worker offers facilitation, education, and referrals for residents needing support including life skills, mental health, homelessness, and addictions, along with providing short-term support and help connecting community members to important services, and delivering community education and outreach, including neighbourhood mediation.
Addressing Food Insecurity
Food insecurity is linked to learning difficulties, obesity, reduced productivity for kids at school and poorer mental health. NOURISH helps mitigate the effects of poverty by offering wholesale prices on fresh vegetables, fruits and meat to residents facing food insecurity; providing a dignified shopping experience.
Action: St. Marys NOURISH Equal Access Food Market
- Mitigates the effects of poverty by offering wholesale prices on local fresh vegetables, fruits and meat to lower income residents
- Provides a dignified shopping experience
- Runs bi-weekly on Thursdays
- 162 individuals accessed the market last year
United Way St. Marys Community Committee
Changing Local Lives
Petra phoned 211 looking for in-home supports for her stepfather, who was diagnosed with stage four cancer. The family had a support worker coming into the home but needed additional support. During the conversation, the Community Navigator discovered the woman’s mother was struggling with the burden of caregiving and needed mental health support. By the end of the call, the Navigator was able to connect them to resources for both in-home supports and caregiver support for the woman’s parents. “I love when I can uncover additional problems people might not realize are there,” says Lisanne, the Navigator who answered the call. “Sometimes it’s a much bigger issue, and addressing that can help resolve other concerns.”
By the time Victoria arrived at a United Way supported program for youth experiencing violence, she had run away from several foster homes and had been recruited into the world of human trafficking by someone she trusted and thought cared for her.
After becoming pregnant at 16 and having her daughter removed from her care, Victoria decided it was time for a new beginning. With support, Victoria has blossomed and is well on her way to starting her young life over again. She is reconnecting with family and healthy supports, goes to school and works part-time to support herself. Victoria’s next goal is working towards the day that she can reconnect with her daughter and be a small part of her life.
Supported Partners in St. Marys
|Emily Murphy Centre
|Family Services Perth-Huron
|Huron County Food Bank Distribution Centre
|John Howard Society
|Living Wage Canada
|Local Community Food Centre (NOURISH)
|St. Marys Community Developer and Support Worker
|St. Marys Youth Centre
|Urgent Needs Fund
|YMCA of Three Rivers
|Youth in Action Grants