COVID-19 Update from United Way of KFL&A – March 16, 2021

Good afternoon! Hope everyone is enjoying the extra daylight – spring is certainly in the air!

Last week, on March 11, it was the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic. 2020 was a year filled with challenges, especially for agencies in our community serving the most vulnerable. There are still many challenges on the horizon, but with your help, together, we can continue to positively impact local lives. In conversations with agencies, we have learned that some are seeing a thirty percent increase in first time clients – people who have never accessed these services before.

To learn more about how the community responded this past year, please read the letter to the editor, to be published in the Kingstonist and Kingston Whig-Standard this week.

In this month’s update you’ll learn about a Food Hub project that United Way KFL&A is working on and details about upcoming Leadership Development Services workshops. I’d also like to share some results from our very successful Tampon Tuesday donation drive.

Food Hub

In the KFL&A region and across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the importance of food access and security. Access to good food has become an essential part of response, recovery, and ongoing stabilization. The importance of centralizing and coordinating food reclamation, collection and distribution has been highlighted. Throughout the pandemic, agencies collaborated and leveraged donations of large amounts of surplus perishable and non-perishable food, as well as fresh food grown by the community.

United Way is delighted to be part of creating a centralized, conveniently located food distribution centre, or “Food Hub,” in the KFL&A region. This will streamline food distribution to agencies. The initiative will give agencies access to larger donations of food, creating efficiencies in time and finances, enhancing the support they can extend to clients.

Agencies and funders have been part of discussions regarding a Food Hub since June 2020. They have identified common needs and, importantly, common values including providing good food in a respectful, inclusive manner, free from stigma. Each agency offers unique programs and/or services based on in-depth knowledge of the needs of their clients, they recognize that collaborating to create the Food Hub will not only enhance their ability to fulfill their individual missions, it will make a significant contribution to reducing food insecurity in the community.

Watch for more details on this collaborative project in the weeks and months to come.

Leadership Development Services Workshop 

United Way KFL&A works to strengthen the voluntary sector of our community by offering training and workshops to non-profit organizations throughout KFL&A. The Leadership Development Services (LDS) public workshops are designed for board members, senior staff and volunteers to build capacity and develop the skills needed to become effective leaders.

In years past, these workshops have been offered in person, but with the COVID-19 Pandemic, they were unfortunately cancelled in 2020. Now, with virtual capabilities, United Way KFL&A is pleased to be able to offer these workshops once again in 2021 virtually, via Zoom.  Special thanks to all the volunteer facilitators who share their experience and expertise, and to KPMG for, once again, sponsoring these public workshops.

The first workshop is coming up on March 31 and focuses on Risk Management. The workshop will be facilitated by Kim Murphy from Queen’s University and looks at identifying sources of risk, describing the risk management process and identifing strategies to manage risk, including addressing the risk of a global pandemic.

For more information about Leadership Development Service workshops and more details on upcoming workshops visit

Tampon Tuesday

Our second annual Tampon Tuesday donation drive wraps up today and while we don’t have final numbers just yet, the response over the past two weeks has been amazing!

As of today we have raised over $7,000 in monetary donations, the Amazon boxes have been arriving steadily, as have been drop-offs at the office, and donation boxes throughout the area have filling up again and again.

Thank you to everyone who has donated in whatever way worked best for you. A special shout out to CIBC Wood Gundy, Correctional Service of Canada, Girl Guides, Curves, Utilities Kingston, Starbucks, Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Beechgrove Assessment Centre, City Christian Centre Ladies Group, and more for their group or office collections. And to the Women of the Royal George for their very generous monetary donation!

I’d also like to thank our partners Bell Media, Shoppers Drug Mart, the Egg Farmers of Ontario and our local Labour partners for their support and Secura Financial and Cher-Mere for being drop off locations.

As with past donation drives, donations will be counted and then distributed to agencies in the coming weeks. We will also share final numbers when they are available. Thanks so much for all the local love and support. 

Thank You!!

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 |