As we enter our sixth week of physical isolation, I’d like to acknowledge and celebrate the generosity of our community. Over $250,000 has been raised through the United Way KFL&A COVID-19 Response Fund. Thanks to all who are supporting this fund through donations, gifts in honour of someone, special birthday celebrations – you are finding so many different ways to support your family, friends and neighbours through the United Way!
This money is going to work right away, along with some of the other government funds we are stewarding.
In this update, I’ve included information about how United Way is investing in local programs that are responding to immediate local needs through innovation, adaptation and new programs.
Tuesday, May 5th is Giving Tuesday for COVID-19. Our United Way is one of four participants in a special cross-border telethon through WPBS (Watertown). This will feature some of our local talent – Paul Langlois and Miss Emily, along with messages from our 2019 Campaign Chair Scott Harris and Kingston Youth Shelter manager, Denise Lamb. More information is included in this update.
Of course, you don’t have to wait till May 5th Giving Tuesday – you can contribute to the fund any time at www.unitedwaykfla.ca/covid-19/
As mentioned in the previous update the Federal government announced $9 million for seniors through the New Horizons fund, to be invested through United Ways across the country. Our United Way received approximately $65,000 to support vulnerable seniors and this has gone to work right away.
– Kingston Community Health Centres – Seniors Food Box: United Way is partnering with Seniors Association, Council on Aging and its Retirees United committee to build on the existing model for Good Food Boxes. Seniors can order a bi-weekly food box containing fresh produce and staple pantry items. Boxes will be delivered and are free to low-income seniors in the area. In its first week, over 100 boxes were requested within a few hours.
– Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), Kingston & Lennox & Addington: will meet the increased demand due to COVID-19 by offering support without the barrier of cost, to provide 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 expand the existing Meals on Wheels Program to meet increased demand, going from 2 days a week to 3.
GIVING TUESDAY FOR COVID-19: WPBS TELETHON
About a month ago, WPBS TV in Watertown reached out to local United Ways with the idea of a telethon to raise funds amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic. Their station serves northern New York state and Eastern Ontario and contacted four United Ways across the border – North New York and East Ontario. All four will be part of a telethon on Tuesday May 5, 2020 – a designated Giving Tuesday for COVID-19 – from 7:30-9pm.
The telethon will feature video performances from musicians that have been submitted and locally, we are thrilled that long time supporters and local talented musicians, Paul Langlois and Emily Fennell (Miss Emily) have sent in a song each, performed at home. The telethon will also feature clips about each United Way and how they are responding to the crisis. A special thanks to board member and 2019 Campaign Chair, Scott Harris, and Kingston Youth Shelter’s, Denise Lamb, for contributing heartfelt and impactful clips representing United Way KFL&A.
We encourage everyone who can to tune into the telethon and encourage your family and friends to as well. We will have members of our staff fielding phone donations that night and we are hoping it is a great success.
UNITED WAY KFLA COVID-19 RESPONSE FUND – PROGRAM INVESTMENTS
United Way continues to stay in touch and support its partner agencies through this crisis.
Additionally, funds from a special fund go out the door almost as soon as they come in to support the most urgent basic needs such as supporting the elderly, mental health, cleaning supplies, temporary accommodation, staffing – whatever agencies and shelters require. The need continues. Over the last six weeks, here are some of the programs that we have invested in. Again, special thanks to all these agencies who continue to find ways to serve the most vulnerable every day.
HOUSING, MENTAL HEALTH
Addiction and Mental Health Services: Alternative housing (hotels/motels), sanitizers, food and supplies, tablets and cell phones for people with addictions and mental health who are homeless and self isolating
Dawn House: Staffing support for a transitional housing program for women who are or were homeless
Kingston Community Legal Clinic: Support for eviction prevention to keep people housed and prevent them from becoming homeless
Kingston Home Base Housing: Additional Street Outreach worker to support people who are homeless and on the streets; a Youth Housing First Worker to support youth who are homeless and looking for housing
Kingston Youth Shelter: Cleaning, food, staffing and furniture to support their move to the new location, cell phones and tablets so youth can access counselling
Kingston Interval House: Grocery support for residents of their second-stage housing, cleaning supplies
Resolve Counselling Centre: Counselling for individuals, families, youth who are struggling with mental health and relationship issues, and are unable to pay for counselling
Kingston Health Sciences Centre – Detox Program: Phone cards and food to support people who are in the detox program
Kingston Community Health Centres – Street Health Program: Nursing support, practical assistance and supplies, transportation for people who are on the streets
FOOD AND MEAL PROGRAMS
Martha’s Table Community Program: Food containers, protective equipment, sanitizers, staffing to allow them to continue to serve meals to people who are hungry
St. Vincent de Paul Society: Laptop computers to enable them to set appointments for clients
Isthmus: Meal hampers for approximately 350 children in 173 families connected to five elementary schools in food insecure neighbourhoods
Kingston Community Health Centres: Free Good Food Boxes through redeployment of resources and food from funding provided through Loving Spoonful and Food Sharing Project
Lionhearts Inc: Cost of food for close to 6,000 meals in 3 locations across Kingston and Lennox & Addington county
Morningstar Mission: Purchase of protein for delivery meals across Lennox & Addington county
Outreach St. George: Food, additional staffing to support a meal program for people who are homeless
Partners in Mission Food Bank: Food purchase to add to hampers for a month
The Salvation Army Community and Family Services: Food assistance through food bags or baskets
As always, thank you so much for your support of the United Way and this amazing community. All the best. Stay safe and well!
President & CEO | United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington