Sens open house for charity

Leslie Mwakio has been to about 20 Ottawa Senators games with his Big Brother, Andrew MacDonald.

“Our first outing was here at Scotiabank Place to see Ottawa vs. the Buffalo Sabres, and it was pretty fun, ’cause it was my first hockey game ever,” said Mwakio, 12, who lives in Sandy Hill.

Since getting paired up four years ago, “Leslie has become quite the statistician,” said MacDonald, laughing.

On Sunday, they hit the ice, joining thousands for the United Way’s annual SENSational Sunday at Scotiabank Place.

The event recognizes about 8,000 donors who gave $1,000 or more, and federal public servants who donate through payroll deductions.

“I think it’s important to say thank you to people who give so generously,” said campaign chairman Max Keeping.

Mwakio is one of many kids from United Way-funded agencies, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Christie Lake Kids and YM-YWCA.

The majority of donations come from federal government workers, who, at $19.5 million, are well on their way to meeting their $23-million fundraising goal.

“At the core, we’re public servants. We like to serve Canadians. It’s in our mandate, our responsibility, and I think people are generous,” said deputy minister of public works and government services Francois Guimont, who’s chairing the campaign this year.

Spectators got to see hockey legend Serge Savard and take part in a photo session with Ottawa Senators players.

The $33.5-million campaign wraps up at the end of the month.

Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

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