Paying It Forward

December 16, 2019 | By: United Way Waterloo Region Communities

Ken never thought he’d be the one struggling to put food on the table. A United Way-funded program helped him provide for his family.

Ken grew up in Canada and was able to take advantage of the many opportunities that provided. He went to school, got a post-secondary education, worked and had a family. He thought he did all of the right things.

Shortly after their second child arrived, Kens’ wife left the marriage and Ken was suddenly a single father with two young kids. Then the recession hit and Ken lost his job. At first, he felt confident he could find another job in his field. But the only employment he could find was below minimum wage. With all his income going to rent and childcare, Ken felt like he was failing his children.

“One of my neighbours took me down to a United Way-supported food bank. I had the kids with me, and I’ll always remember that little red logo. I was able to feed my children. I could get clothing for them. I honestly don’t know where my children and I would have been if it hadn’t been for United Way.” – Ken

The generosity of United Way donors helped to ensure support was available when Ken and his family needed it most. To this day, Ken remains grateful for the support he received. In fact, once he and his family were thriving again, he looked for ways to give back and even started donating a portion of his pay to United Way.

“The money goes to people like me,” he says. “For the longest time, I never understood what the phrase ‘the working poor’ meant. The working poor are people, real people, who have to work two or three jobs because of circumstances that are beyond their control.”


For more information about United Way Waterloo Region Communities and how you can support our community, please visit, call us at 519-888-6100, or email


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