Programs funded through $65,000 grant from Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors program
Kingston, ON (May 4, 2020) – Seniors are often most at risk of contracting and becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19. With physical distancing in place across the region, many are unable to access food programs or grocery shop to make meals at home.
To help seniors across the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on March 29, 2020 that the federal government will be investing $9 million across Canada to support vulnerable seniors. These funds, distributed by local United Ways, will support agencies with the delivery of a range of community services including meeting basic needs like food, hot meals and personal care items, outreach and social support through check-ins. This funding will support agencies serving those who are 55+ in all regions of Canada, including rural and remote communities who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“While physical distancing is essential to protecting seniors from COVID-19, it risks isolating them from their community. That is why the Government of Canada is proud to work with United Way Canada to help support the needs of seniors during this difficult time. By using local expertise, this funding will help provide support tailored to the unique, local needs of seniors across the country. As we work together to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus, the government is supporting Canadians every step of the way,” said MP Mark Gerretsen, on behalf of Minister of Seniors Deb Schulte
United Way Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington has received $65,000 through the New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP), allocated by Employment Social Development Canada and funds are flowing through to registered charitable organizations that serve the KFL&A region.
The NHSP provides grants and contributions for projects that help improve the well-being of seniors and foster their social inclusion. To provide more support for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government of Canada announced flexibility for organizations to use funding received through the NHSP community-based stream to provide immediate and essential service to seniors impacted by COVID-19
In KFL&A, agencies are already hard at work providing extra support for vulnerable seniors and three meal and food programs have been designated to receive funds:
- Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), Napanee: will meet the increased demand due to COVID-19 by offering support without the barrier of cost, including vouchers/cards for groceries, delivery of hot or frozen prepared foods and grocery shopping and delivery services to those in need
- Rural Frontenac Community Services, North Frontenac: will be able to offset the cost of meals and expand the existing Meals on Wheels Program to meet increased demand, going from 2 days a week of delivery to three delivering approximately 160 meals on four routes throughout Central and North Frontenac.
- Kingston Community Health Centre, Kingston: Seniors’ Food Box program builds on the existing model for Good Food Boxes. Seniors in need are able to order a bi-weekly food box containing approximately 15 items including fresh produce and staple pantry items. Boxes will be delivered and are free to low-income seniors in the area.
In addition to food access, seniors need support to address mental health, anxiety, self isolation – the three newly funded programs highlighted below:
- Independent Living Kingston – Funding for staff to provide support through phone check-in calls, on-line peer groups and virtual programming to vulnerable seniors with disabilities experiencing increased social isolation, fear, anxiety, loneliness due to COVID-19 pandemic. Assist with navigating and connecting with supports for food, homecare, counselling services, programs – one to one direct support to address unique needs of seniors
- Resolve Counselling Services Canada – As a result of the pandemic, seniors are experiencing loneliness, anxiety, depression and stress of self-isolation. This program will address the increased need and the growing number of vulnerable seniors looking for counselling.
- Seniors Association – Additional staffing at the Seniors Association will provide check-in calls, and information about resources for vulnerable isolated seniors experiencing loneliness, anxiety & mental health, food insecurity, health concerns while self-isolating, including grocery, pharmacy deliveries, curb-side pick-up, medical, health etc. The agency will also provide virtual programming to promote physical activity, courses to stimulate their mind, connect with other seniors etc
“Seniors are worried about being isolated, getting their groceries or meals delivered, filling their prescriptions, going shopping,” said Bhavana Varma, President and CEO, United Way KFL&A. “This funding, along with funds from the United Way KFL&A COVID-19 Response Fund, help ensure agencies have the supports they need to provide help to seniors during this critical time.”
For more information about the fund and the programs listed above, including eligibility and application process, community members are asked to contact United Way KFL&A at email@example.com or 613-542- 2674 Ext. 1411
And for more information about United Way KFL&A’s response to COVID-19 visit www.unitedwaykfla.ca/covid-19/
About the New Horizons for Seniors Program
The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) supports the Government of Canada’s overarching social goals to enhance the quality of life, and promote the full participation of individuals, including seniors, in all aspects of Canadian society. During COVID-19, and the requirement for social-distancing and self-isolation, these funds become even more important to ensure that vulnerable seniors have the supports they need for their wellbeing.
About United Way of KFL&A
United Way works with individuals, organizations and key partners in KFL&A to build and strengthen the community, bringing people and resources together to facilitate change. Our vision is a future where people are self-sufficient in a community, where individuals live with hope, dignity and a sense of belonging. Visit www.unitedwaykfla.ca for more information.
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With social distancing in mind, interviews can be conducted via phone, Zoom or Skype
Mandy Pasch, Manager, Marketing and Communications
United Way KFL&A
Bhavana Varma, President and CEO
United Way KFL&A