CEO Update from United Way KFL&A – July, 2021

Good afternoon! I hope you are staying safe and healthy and that you are enjoying summer relaxing and recharging!

This month’s update includes information about panel discussions hosted by Retirees United and Women United,  the upcoming Backpack Program and a chance to learn more about the issues and increased needs local agencies continue to face.


In June, Retirees United and Women United hosted panel discussions to learn more about issues impacting members of our community. We find virtual panels are an excellent opportunity to learn from both, agencies and clients, about their experiences, programs and local needs.

The most recent Retirees United Panel focused on Food Security, an issue that has increased greatly because of the pandemic and continues to impact the most vulnerable members of our community. The panel highlighted the work of Lionhearts Inc., the Seniors’ Food Box program and Martha’s Table. You can learn more about Retirees United and watch the panel here.

The Women United panel in June focused on a tougher issue in our community: Human Trafficking. Members heard from Alexis about her lived experience. They also heard from members of the Kingston Police, Victim Services and from an Anti-Human Trafficking crisis worker. Kingston Interval House and Sexual Assault Centre Kingston spoke about local community programs that support victims/survivors of human trafficking. You can learn more about Women United and watch the panel here.

While we miss holding these panels in person and connecting face to face, virtual panels have been an excellent way to continue engaging with topics that interest members of these groups. These panels also show how your donations impact the lives of individuals every day in our community. Please, if you have the time, watch a panel session and learn more about how you can get involved with these groups.


Back to school season is here; this time of year comes with lots of excitement and anticipation, but it can also be an anxious and stressful time for many families as they do their very best to set young students up for success.

That is where the Backpack Program comes in. Coordinated by the United Way KFL&A with donations from individuals, community businesses and organizations, the program distributes backpacks and school supplies to ensure that families and children have all they need for another successful school year.

Last year, the community showed their local love and over 1,400 students started the school year with supplies as a result! Thank you!

This year, similar to Day of Caring, community members or groups are encouraged to collect items, assemble kits or donate funds. Once collected, donations will be distributed in late August to students of all ages through agencies and schools.  You can let us know if you’d like United Way to pick up your donations or you can drop off your donations at the United Way office at 417 Bagot Street (back entrance). 

Visit for updates and more information.


As the province continues to reopen and vaccination rates increase, more and more normalcy is coming back into our lives. But the pandemic isn’t over and many agencies in the community continue to feel the effects of the past year and a half.

Families and individuals have been stressed and strained. Stay at home orders and school closures have interrupted routines and disrupted life for many, including youth.

This week, The Kingston Whig-Standard published an article looking at how the Kingston Youth Shelter has adapted to the increased needs in the community since the start of the pandemic. They needed support to relocate to allow youth to self-isolate, they needed technology to keep youth connected and now they continue to see more and more youth needing their services.

With your support, United Way KFL&A was able to help with these challenges and help they Youth Shelter meet immediate needs. Learn more about the impact of your donations and the issues that are still facing many youth in our community.

Also, for a list of supports for youth, visit


Thank you! Your support continues to change the lives of so many impacted by this pandemic. Thank you for your continued. You can always stay up to date by following our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and of course, you can find videos at and regular updates on our website at

Take care. Stay safe and well! 

Bhavana Varma
President & CEO | United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington

417 Bagot Street | Kingston, ON | K7K 3C1 |
T: 613-542-2674 Ext.1101 | C: 613-929-4828 | Direct: 613-542-4751 |