Spring is finally here! Hope you are enjoying the warmer temperatures and extra daylight now that we have crossed the Spring Equinox.
As we cross the two-year mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, I want to take an opportunity to thank each and everyone of our donors for your ongoing support and local love. The impact of the pandemic isn’t over and as our community continues to work together to respond and recover, your support means more than ever. Thank you!
A positive that has come from the past two years is the amount of community collaboration taking place across agencies, organizations, and volunteers from all sectors. Communication and collaboration has never been stronger and we are see the benefits of these partnerships, and are able to move on initiatives together, building on the trust and relationships created.
We are stronger together and in this month’s update you can read more about this ongoing community collaboration and some of the projects focused on integration of services for young children, food distribution in KFL&A and a mobile unit providing care to individuals where they are. This update also includes details about the annual Day of Caring and how you can get involved.
We will continue to provide you with monthly updates, communicating the impact that your donations have in the community – how you are changing lives and supporting much needed programs and how this is making a difference in the lives of your friends, neighbours, colleagues and fellow community members. I look forward to your feedback and if there are areas you’d like to learn more about.
Integrated Services for children and families in KFL&A
United Way is excited to partner with the City of Kingston and Family and Children’s Services for an initiative focused on families with young children. Through this project, families will soon be able to access a multi-disciplinary community centre with a culturally focused, family-centered approach. This project will feature services provided by community partners collaborating to serve young children (ages 0-6) and their families.
Last year, approximately 1250 child welfare referrals were investigated with the most prevalent issues related to substance use, intimate partner violence (IPV), and mental health. With a focus on prevention and early support, the project envisions a Centre to help families with better coordination, and increased understanding of which services are available and how to access them. Young children and their families will be provided access to services with a cultural approach that is inclusive of identity, race, language, and lived experience of all community members, including but not limited to First Nations, Inuit, Métis, Black, LGBTQ2S+ identities. Many of these are overrepresented in the child welfare system.
Work is just beginning, and community partners, agencies are being consulted on how best to work together to ensure that the voice of children and families will be at the forefront of every stage of planning, and that agencies and partners are engaged in the development. Decisions on a convenient and centralized location is currently underway for the Centre that is expected to open later this year.
Community Food Redistribution Warehouse (CFRW)
The Community Food Redistribution Warehouse (CFRW) is an initiative developed and implemented in partnership by Lionhearts, Kingston Community Health Centres (KCHC), the City of Kingston, the United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington and Rotary in Kingston, with contributions from the Churchill Foundation, and many other community partners and stakeholders.
In the KFL&A region and across the country, the COVID-19 pandemic has accentuated the importance of food access and security. The importance of centralizing and coordinating food reclamation, collection and distribution has been highlighted. Throughout the pandemic, agencies have leveraged donations of large amounts of surplus perishable and non-perishable food, as well as fresh food grown by the community, for donation to agencies supporting people experiencing food insecurity.
We are excited to celebrate the official opening of this 11,500 ft2 warehouse this week. The facility is equipped with the infrastructure to safely receive, process, store, and redistribute large scale food donations.
This centralized, conveniently located food distribution centre in the KFL&A region will help streamline food distribution to agencies. The initiative will give the community access to larger donations of food, creating efficiencies and enhancing the much needed and valuable support agencies extend to their clients.
You can learn more about the CFRW here https://www.unitedwaykfla.ca/communityfoodredistributionwarehouse/ and look for photos and more on our social media platforms and in the media this week.
Mobile Care unit
Access to services is a barrier for a number of individuals in the KFL&A community. In conversations with services providers, access is a barrier in rural communities, but also in Kingston and throughout KFL&A. Modeled after a similar concept in British Columbia and other communities, United Way is working with Kingston Community Health Centres, Addictions & Mental Health Services and KFL&A Public Health to look at collaborating on a retro-fitted Recreational Vehicle that can be used for mobile health and counselling services throughout the region.
This project would focus on bringing services to people who need them including primary care, counselling, addictions treatment, wound care, immunizations, transgender health services, youth peer support and so much more to individuals in rural communities or in areas where services or transportation to services may be limited.
Through this collaborative project, a trailer has been secured and will be on the streets of KFL&A this spring. The hope is that the services provided will help individuals, but also allow for connections and relationships to be built to further support individuals – providing them a pathway to other services.
Look for more details about this project in the coming weeks.
Day of Caring
For the past 22 years, United Way volunteer teams have shown their local love and helped agencies with gardening, renovations, and more at the annual Day of Caring. In 2022, the United Way Day of Caring will continue this tradition, but will also allow for different opportunities, ensuring health and safety protocols are followed.
Day of Caring will take place on Friday, June 17th, 2022
A number of agencies have already signed on with outdoor projects that volunteers will work on and workplace volunteers and community members are encouraged to donate items through a donation collection drive or assembled kits that will then be distributed through agencies. ‘Day of caring’ donations to support an agency with a day’s worth of program funding will also be possible and outdoor projects will be organized – check www.unitedwaykfla.ca/dayofcaring in the weeks to come for more details and how you can take part.
In the News
Wondering what your United Way has been up to in the past month? Here are some media highlights you may want to check out – again they highlight the impact each of you make in the lives of so many in our community each day – thank you!
Tampon Tuesday campaign drive runs to March 31 – don’t forget to donate to the Tampon Tuesday donation drive.
Community partners to provide services for KFL&A children under one roof – learn more about the project mentioned above
United Way Spotlight segments on YourTv – check out weekly spotlight segments on agencies and programs on Limestone Lens through YourTv Kingston’s YouTube channel or watch weekly on Cogeco (Wednesday evenings).
Thank you! Your support continues to change the lives of so many impacted by this pandemic. Please feel free to reach out if you would like more information or just want to chat – I can be reached at 613-929-4828 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
Take care and stay safe.
You can always stay up to date by following our social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and you can find videos at www.unitedwaykfla.ca/videos/. Watch for regular updates on our website at www.unitedwaykfla.ca