Good morning! Happy New Year and hope you are staying safe and well. As we launch the new year, we’ll continue to send you these updates regularly. I welcome your feedback and input to make sure these updates provide you with the information you’d like to see.
With provincial lockdown restrictions, United Way KFL&A has closed its physical office for now; however, all employees continue to work remotely with agencies and community members to ensure those who are most vulnerable are receiving the support they need during these challenging times.
In this month’s update you’ll learn about Bell Let’s Talk Day, details about United Way KFL&A’s continuing COVID-19 Response, funding and support provided to community members and agencies in 2020, and an update on the Social Services Recovery Taskforce.
BELL LET’S TALK DAY
Mental health is always important and with recent lockdowns and restrictions due to COVID-19, checking in on others and monitoring our own mental health is more important than ever. Partner agencies and programs continue to work to make sure those who need support in the community can receive it.
On Bell Let’s Talk Day, January 28th, Bell will donate more towards mental health initiatives in Canada by contributing 5¢ for every applicable text, call, tweet or TikTok video using #BellLetsTalk, social media video views. You can also use their Facebook frame or Snapchat filter to help spread the message and contribute to the fundraising.
When it comes to mental health, now more than ever, every action counts. Whether big or small, our actions can make a big difference in moving Canada’s mental health forward. Join the conversation on January 28 to help create positive change.
Make sure you are following United Way KFL&A’s social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn on January 28th and please share posts and post your own in support of mental health programs.
COVID-19 RESPONSE FUND AND 2020 FUNDING
Locally, through the pandemic in 2020, United Way invested $5.5 million that has helped 76,000 people in KFL&A through 70 unique organizations. Thank you for your support!!
This is through all funding sources – United Way KFLA Covid-19 Response Fund, campaign dollars as well as federal funding stewarded by United Way, supporting programs through the pandemic. For a full list of grants and programs please visit https://www.unitedwaykfla.ca/grants/; to see the impact these funds are making locally visit www.unitedwaykfal.ca/videos
As we collectively and proactively look at the ever changing situation on the ground, frontline agencies are hard at work to ensure they can continue to serve residents. But they can’t do this alone. They rely on the support of the community and donors.
The United Way KFL&A COVID-19 Response Fund was established last March in response to the needs presented by the pandemic. Over $300,000 was raised and invested immediately into urgent needs. These needs continue and we continue to rely on community donors to show their #locallove in support.
SOCIAL SERVICES RECOVERY TASK FORCE
The Social Services Recovery Task Force was started by United Way in May 2020 to explore opportunities for stabilization, collaboration and coordination among agencies in the social services sector in KFL&A. This includes programs for food, homelessness, mental health, counselling and safety from violence in the region. The taskforce continues to meet on a quarterly basis in 2021 to work on the priorities established.
On January 19th, I presented a report to Kingston City Council on the progress made through the Social Services Recovery Taskforce. The City is now also focusing attention to other areas and sectors that have been impacted by the pandemic. In 2021 they will provide assistance and support with delivery needs, technology, internet access, food containers and food program needs and will support an integrated food hub.
This week the Task Force looked at lessons learned, what worked well, and how our social services sector is going to work together in the coming months and years, with your support. This report is being pulled together and will be shared online when completed.
We all want to live in a community where everyone succeeds. It is possible, but it’s going to take all of us together to get there. social services are essential; they have a critical role to play in building a better future.
Our community counts on agencies offering critical programs for basic needs like food, shelter; they deal with complex issues like substance use and mental health. Many of them, however, have no stable government funding, something the Task Force is going to need to discuss with all levels of government.
We know at least 76,000 people in our region accessed support through agencies this past year. An investment in these services is an investment in our community. These services help people overcome challenges that may be barriers to employment. The social service sector is crucial to our country’s economic recovery.
During every crisis and challenge our community faces, our social services are on the frontlines. COVID-19 has been especially difficult both for social services and for the people who rely on them. We need services to be there when people need them the most.
For more information and updates about the Social Services Recovery Taskforce please visit https://www.unitedwaykfla.ca/socialservicesrecoverytaskforce/
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 www.unitedwaykfla.ca/videos/ and regular updates on our website at www.unitedwaykfla.ca
Take care. Stay safe and well!
President & CEO | United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington