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Out in the Cold
With John Thorpe President, Utter Morris Insurance Brokers
ith all the fundraising around pandemic-related causes, it can be easy to mentally set aside the issues that persisted beforehand. But ongoing issues, like homelessness, need our attention more than ever.
As a result of the pandemic there are far more people facing an economic crisis that could lead to homelessness, and it’s estimated that those experiencing homelessness are five times as likely to die from Covid. That’s why the United Way Halton & Hamilton organized Sleepless in Our Cities—a fundraiser designed to raise awareness of the lived realities of those experiencing homelessness in our communities.
Participants raised funds and on February 19th, spent the night in their vehicle. One of those participants and top fundraisers was John Thorpe, President of Burlington-based brokerage Utter Morris Insurance Brokers.
“We’ve been supporting the United Way as it’s local and very broad based, supplying a variety of needed services in our community,” said John. “We’ve done this through direct donations and an employee giving plan. This fundraiser caught my attention due to the uniqueness, and I liked the connection to a problem we have—homelessness—which is often easy to ignore in our day-to-day lives.”
John, who is also on the campaign committee of the United Way Halton & Hamilton, was able to raise $5,300 for the cause. He spent the night in his car in February when temperatures dropped as low as –8°C.
“Obviously it was cold and a little sleepless, especially in the early hours of the morning. But when it really hit me was the next night. I was exhausted and really glad to have a warm bed. At that point I realized for homeless people it would just be another night in the cold.”
The goal of the event was to raise $40,000 in donations, but that was nearly doubled with over $75,000 raised.
“The United Way will use these funds to support the agencies that help the homeless, young people and others in need, providing a vital social safety net for hundreds of thousands of people who need support. I’d definitely do it again.”
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