In March 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
But, it was in the weeks before that United Way East Ontario, local public health authorities, and social services agencies gathered to see how we could support those most in need.
Since then, grassroots groups have formed. New services have emerged, and staple support has adapted as a result of incredible teamwork and creativity through the COVID-19 Community Response Table. Neighbours are helping neighbours and volunteers are stepping up. Together, we’re making a difference.
As “COVID fatigue” and mounting exhaustion sets in for all of us, the pandemic is hitting our communities harder than it ever has. COVID-19 continues to challenge the efforts we’ve made to ensure no one struggling falls through the cracks, and we know there are many months to go before we’re in the clear. Now more than ever, we need to keep our communities strong.
We’re learning to carry on, but the needs haven’t gone away
Since the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 began to take hold, people who were already experiencing inequities—like poverty, homelessness and social isolation—have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. They need even more help during this time, and their needs will require our attention for 2021 and likely much farther into the future.
As we head into another year of living with COVID-19 in our region, we’ve renewed our commitment to provide ongoing support for the people hit hardest by this pandemic.
Providing access to life’s essentials that help the most vulnerable stay healthy.
Help for seniors
Supporting isolated seniors who are vulnerable and at risk of developing severe illness if they contract the virus.
Capacity for the
Ensuring frontline services can continue their vital work.
Mental health and
Enabling vital crisis lines and system navigation services that benefit everyone.
Addressing learning loss for vulnerable children and youth
Ensuring kids get back on track with their education.
Building a more prosperous future for people who have been sidelined by the pandemic.
As the situation evolves, United Way will continue working with our community partners to adapt.
We’re making a difference in people’s lives every day
Last week, we invested $2 million in 39 local programs that will support the people who are still struggling as the province begins to reopen. Read more about how we’re bolstering Indigenous and Black mental health, and fighting food insecurity, social isolation, learning loss and more.
United Way and our partners have been delivering basic needs and compassion to isolated seniors like Marie, so they don’t fall through the cracks.
The Road Ahead
COVID-19 brought the fault lines of our communities into focus and provoked an urgency to take them on. But it will take courage and commitment to continue tackling these systemic challenges. We will inevitably move into a recovery phase, and we must take the lessons of the pandemic with us to build a more equitable future.
The pandemic has been tragic and punishing for so many. But the resilience we’ve built over the past year can propel us to be better than we were before. We have our sleeves rolled up, and we’re ready to continue this work.
President and CEO, United Way East Ontario