Thousands of people took to Stephen Avenue on Thursday morning for the first day of the United Way’s campaign to raise money and awareness about social issues in Calgary.

The 78th Annual United Way campaign began with a march in the downtown core and aims to show everyone in the city how they can do some good to help those in need.

Karen Young, CEO and president of United Way of Calgary and area, says the money raised during the event will be used effectively.

“We’re going to be able to invest this money in three things; helping people alleviate poverty, helping kids succeed and be successful in life and building strong communities.”

She says the organization works with a myriad of other agencies to help a wide range of individuals.

“Some of the agencies we support include the YMCA Calgary, the YW, Boys and Girls’ Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Calgary Catholic Family Services and the Newcomer’s Centre. We support so many agencies. We can’t wait to work together to do collective impact and make a real difference.”

Last year, they raised $52.6M for the community and had over 846 companies involved. They are encouraging everyone to get involved in the 2018 campaign.

“We have many major donors who step up and help us. It’s been a tough economic environment in Calgary but we really know that people come together to get it done.”

The United Way has been helping people in Calgary since 1940. They help over 500 people per day or over 150,000 per year.