Like all of you, we’ve been monitoring the evolving global impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID 19) and are monitoring communiques from local health authorities. These are challenging times for all, including our agencies and their clients and stakeholders. It is truly a privilege to work with such compassionate partners and agencies, working together to serve our most vulnerable.
With the collective health and wellbeing of our community in mind, United Way KFL&A’s physical offices are closed to the public. While our offices are closed, our staff continue to work remotely to support the critical agencies and programs our region needs to help serve those who are vulnerable. Contact us
Events and meetings: All events and meetings at this time are cancelled, postponed or are held using video or tele-conferencing.
We continue to work with our front-line agencies to ensure our community is able to serve all residents, especially those who are particularly vulnerable. United Way is joining with our partners, donors, and agencies, assessing gaps and needs, and developing shared solutions that best serve our community.
- As the largest non-government funder of social services, we believe that our agency partners are closest to the ground and are keenly aware of the needs and issues emerging in the communities they are serving. Agencies have been offered the flexibility they need to change and adapt programming and services during this public health situation.
- We are part of regular group calls for food/meal providers in Kingston and the neighbouring counties. Many meal programs are switching to take-out only, meals on wheels continue in Frontenac for now, and food banks are open but by appointment. We have found a couple of gaps that we have been able to fill immediately (cost of food, containers, supplies); and have been actively promoting these meal programs so people know where to go. United Way has been able to respond to some of the more urgent needs and will continue to look for ways to find resources and provide support to keep these programs going. .
- United Way is working with the City of Kingston and shelters to find solutions for those who are homeless. We are also in touch with the 2 women’s shelters and supportive housing agencies. Again, filling in gaps where we can – simple things like cleaning supplies and sanitizers, anticipating a higher need shortly for staffing, barriers between beds, food, alternative accommodation, etc.
- The City has found an alternative location for the youth shelter so that they can practice social distancing. We are helping out with food, cleaning, providing cell phones so youth can access counselling and support.
- The City is also working for alternative housing options for people in shelter. We are looking at ways that funds from Reaching Home can be used for alternative accommodation or supplies and support, as needed
- The women’s shelters are coping as much as they can. They need food, sanitizing supplies, etc and we have been able to coordinate some of this
- All shelters may need to limit intake at some time and are working on how this may impact the community
For a full list of supports operating in the community – from meal and food programs to counselling services visit www.unitedwaykfla.ca/covid-19-supports/
Funds available for COVID-19 needs
- United Way KFLA COVID-19 Response Fund: Like many United Ways across the country, we have launched a COVID-19 Response fund to support local efforts. We are starting to see donations come in. Thank you so much!
To help launch the fund, the Anna and Edward C. Churchill Foundation showed their local love and generously donated a matching grant. Thank you to all the individuals and corporations who are supporting local efforts through this fund. So far over $100,000 has been raised in the first week.
Funds will be used for
- Basic needs, supporting the elderly, community capacity, mental health, volunteers support, cleaning supplies, temporary accommodation, staffing, barriers between beds – whatever agencies, shelters need to support the most vulnerable. We are delighted to announce that the Churchill Foundation has stepped up and are providing a matching fund to encourage donations through this fund and we are grateful to many who have stepped up and donated to this fund.
2. Federal funding (Reaching Home in Kingston) can be used towards COVID 19 response. We are the community entity for Kingston (which means we give out federal funding). We have reached out to shelters, detox, street health, AMHS (Addictions & Mental Health Services), etc to see what they may need
United Way KFL&A welcomes this announcement, recognizing the impact that the global COVID-19 crisis has had on charitable organizations serving the most vulnerable populations across Canada.
The Federal Government is working with United Way Canada to support the distribution of these funds, through the New Horizons for Seniors Program, in local communities across Canada. The funds will be used to help community service agencies address the needs of vulnerable seniors – working closely with municipalities, local public health authorities, business, labour and frontline agencies to coordinate investments where they are needed most.
Learn more here and details on funding and distribution in KFL&A will follow in the weeks to come.
While available volunteer opportunities are limited at this current time, not-for-profit organizations across the KFL&A region are continuing to adjust their program and service delivery responses to COVID-19.
Please feel free to email the United Way Volunteer Centre to let us know how you would like to help in the coming weeks. Details on things to be aware of before volunteering and the contact email can be found on our Volunteer Centre website.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we learn more about this issue. We’re focused on the future and we’re going to keep working hard to protect the most vulnerable people in our community. We will continue to keep you up to date and we encourage all community members to look after themselves and look out for others.
Please stay safe and healthy!
President & CEO
United Way Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington