Federal public servants aim to raise $21M for charities

They may be trimming the fat on Parliament Hill, but the generosity of public servants and retirees remains plentiful.

The annual Government of Canada Workplace Charitable Campaign kicked off at Rideau Hall Monday.

This year’s target for their annual charitable campaign is $21 million.

The campaign runs each fall, with funds supporting United Way/Centraide, Healthpartners or any other registered Canadian charity of their choosing.

“Public servants are very generous and very much care about the people who live in their community,” said Deputy Minister of Canadian Heritage Daniel Jean, chairman of this year’s campaign.

Benevolence is essential to creating a more caring nation, said Governor General of Canada David Johnston.

Despite rounds and rounds of layoffs last year, which was “pretty tough – I would say even a tougher environment than what we’re going through this year,” they managed to surpass the $21 million target, raising a total of $22.3 million in the National Capital Region, and $39 million nationally, said Jean.

Funding supports numerous programs and services.

“Whether it’s somebody who’s just been diagnosed with diabetes who needs some assistance in terms of how they control that, whether it’s somebody undergoing dialysis that gets assistance from the Kidney Foundation, there are hundreds of thousands of people here in this community that benefit every single year,” said national executive director of Healthpartners Eileen Dooley.

For instance, families in need are given access to food banks and emergency shelters, while after-school programs for kids allow them to learn, play and grow.

Seniors are provided assistance so they can remain in their own homes and stay connected within their communities

In addition, money bolsters medical research, health education and patient services, giving people tools to cope with debilitating and life-threatening diseases.

Overall, the campaign makes a lasting impact on the health and well-being of Canadians — 87% of whom will likely be affected by a major illness such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases, said Dooley.

Over the years, “the number of deaths from heart attacks has actually decreased. Cancer survival rates are increasing, and those are all impacts that are related to investments of federal government employees have made through Healthpartners,” Dooley said.

The campaign runs until the end of November.

kelly.roche@sunmedia.ca

@ottawasunkroche

http://www.ottawasun.com/2013/09/09/federal-public-servants-aim-to-raise-21m-for-charities

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