Officials with the Altona/Gretna and District United Way have received a directive from United Way Canada that local officials say is a real head-scratcher.

The local organization has been told that they will need to merge their operation with a larger neighbouring United Way, and they need to move on this fairly quickly.

"We've had talks with Lori Penner of Winkler United Way and Terry Gibson of Morden, but they haven't heard anything about this from United Way Canada, so it may be all very preliminary," said Ken Wiebe, campaign chairman. "We don't know where this is going to take us yet."

During last year's fundraising campaign, the Altona/Gretna and District United Way raised about $60,000 and dispersed that money to 17 organizations that have an impact on the area. This year's fundraising goal is $70,000.

Wiebe admits merging with another United Way operation may create some efficiencies, but he remains puzzled by all of this.

"What the real reason is for this, I just don't know. I've been asking that question of United Way Canada and they really haven't been able to nail down a real reason that would satisfy me as to why we should do this."

United Way Canada has indicated the local board needs to act on this soon and make these changes in time for next fall or it will withhold the rights to use the United Way name and logo for next year's campaign.

"They're suggesting this happen in the next 7 or 8 months, I guess, but before we jump into anything like this, we want to know why we're doing this and we're certainly asking those questions."