United Way Programs

Northumberland United Way strives to create impact in our local community where it is needed most. We work closely with community partners, local businesses, organizations and our volunteers to identify gaps in service and then identify opportunities to meet these needs.

In addition to being a funder, Northumberland United Way also supports three annual programs that improve the lives of thousands of people across Northumberland County. These programs are 211, Back Packs for Kids and Day Caring.


211 LogoWhen you don’t know where to turn, turn to 211. 211 connects people to the right information and services, strengthens Canada’s health and human services, and helps Canadians to become more engaged with their communities. It is the source Canadians trust when seeking information and services to deal with life’s challenges.

211’s award-winning telephone helpline (2-1-1) and website provide a gateway to community, social, nonclinical health and related government services. 211 helps to navigate the complex network of human services quickly and easily – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, in over 100 languages. For more information, please visit 211.ca

Back Packs for Kids

Each September, hallways grow crowded with fresh-faced youth ready to take on a new school year. To kick-start successful learning, the Northumberland United Way “Back Packs for Kids” Program provides backpacks full of school supplies that are distributed to 34 local agencies, organizations and schools. Since the program’s inception in 2005, 15,000 backpacks have been provided to children in need throughout our community.

Each backpack costs $15 – $25 to produce, depending on the grade and supplies required. Products are donated and purchased from local retailers. The effect of this program is felt countywide because it utilizes local businesses and supports our youth in school.

The program is offered to all residents in Northumberland County. For two days in August, we use the Cobourg Community Lion’s Centre to sort and stuff all the back packs with the help of more than 50 volunteers and sponsors. After all the back packs are stuffed, more than 30 children and youth groups and schools from across Northumberland County come to pick up the number of backpacks needed for their clients. In 2015, more than 1,600 backpacks were distributed across all to municipalities in Northumberland: 21% to the Port Hope area, 35% to Cobourg area; 12% Brighton; 10% Cramahe Township; 20% Trent Hills area.

This is the 12th year we have been doing this program for the community and in that time we have gone from stuffing 100 back packs the first year to more than 1,200 this year, for a total of over 15,000 back packs.

Without tremendous community support given to United Way, this annual program would not exist. All donations go towards purchasing supplies to benefit over 1,600 children and youth who will receive them.

Day of Caring

Countless hours go into planning the Day of Caring every year. It is a day that brings our community together to complete jobs for local individuals and organizations that would otherwise be left undone due to health or monetary restrictions.

Since 1998, our team has seen it all! Jobs range from painting, cleaning, gardening and yard work to building sandboxes and enhancing play areas. Each year, applications are reviewed and jobs are assessed by an organizing committee. From these assessments, materials are ordered and manpower determined to complete the jobs in a 5-6 hours work period.

On average, more than 150 volunteers come together each year to complete 43 jobs throughout the Cobourg/ Port Hope area. The Day of Caring creates an impact that lasts a lifetime for the residents of Northumberland and the improvements made to local homes and charities are cherished far beyond the day itself.

Each year, we complete jobs at local nonprofits, charitable and community organizations as well as at the homes of individuals who may not be able to complete these projects due to timing and financial restrictions. In our community, there is a need for assistance to help make one’s living situation more comfortable and safe. These are the kinds of projects for which the Day of Caring is designed.

Applications open each year in February, and our deadline for submission is March. If you have a project or know of an individual or organization who may need help, please send us an email and stay informed by subscribing to our weekly email.

View more pictures from our 2017 annual Day of Caring.

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