Local groups to coordinate volunteers to support people most in need during COVID-19

3 MIN READ

Volunteers across our region are eager to take action.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen just how much members of our communities are ready and willing to lend their time or expertise to help people who need support during this critical time. 

From small acts of kindness like offering grocery help for seniors to sharing curated lists of local businesses who have adapted to meet our needs while maintaining physical distancing, it’s clear we’re genuinely all in this together and want to see each other thrive.

There’s no better way to bring light to dark situations than to tap into our individual skills, resources, and compassion. As part of our local response to COVID-19, United Way East Ontario is committed to making this possible.

We’re partnering with local experts to streamline volunteer opportunities.

The social services sector, local businesses, municipalities and public health authorities have been meeting for weeks at both the United Way East Ontario-led “COVID-19 Community Response Table” and the City of Ottawa-led Human Needs Task Force to address evolving needs that unfold as a result of the pandemic.

“Frontline agencies have told us that, since physical distancing measures came into place, consistently sourcing and training volunteers has become more difficultespecially since many volunteers in our communities are seniors,” says Michael Allen, President and CEO, United Way East Ontario.

Partners at the tables identified a need for a centralized, monitored approach to recruit, train, and deploy volunteers to support vulnerable people across the region. 

In response to this need, our partners, Volunteer Ottawa and the Champlain Community Support Network (CCSN), announced enhanced platforms to recruit and deploy volunteers in response to COVID-19 related needs. 

Volunteer Ottawa is implementing a comprehensive outreach, recruitment, training and deployment strategy with the support of the City of Ottawa, the Ottawa Community Foundation and United Way East Ontario. The Champlain Community Support Network (CCSN) will seek volunteers to support seniors and adults with disabilities.

“Many people are isolated or have health issues and require assistance in getting groceries and necessities, and accessing nutritious meals. Some also need telephone check-ins to monitor their health and wellbeing,” says Nathalie Lafrenière, Executive Director of the Eastern Ottawa Resource Centre and a member of CCSN.

“By having a central location to manage interested volunteers, we can ensure everyone is properly trained, follows public health guidelines and stays safe throughout their experience.”

Nathalie Lafrenière

One of the main priorities of United Way’s Local Love in a Global Crisis COVID-19 response is to ensure that volunteers are supported, which, in today’s context, means maintaining their health. By partnering with local experts like Volunteer Ottawa on a centralized approach to screening, training and placement, we can reduce the risks and keep them safeensuring that even more of our communities’ vulnerable people are able to get the help they so desperately need.

“We’re grateful to United Way East Ontario, the City of Ottawa, and the Ottawa Community Foundation for collaborating and enabling us to help strategically mobilize volunteers so we can address these needs in a consistent and safe manner,” says Marie Eveline, Executive Director of Volunteer Ottawa.

For a list of volunteer opportunities available, please visit Volunteer Ottawa and CCSN.

The Champlain Community Support Network also launched a website where seniors can register to get help with grocery and meal delivery, telephone checks, and transportation to medical appointments. Seniors can register here.

In early March, in partnership with Ottawa Public Health and dozens of organizations across the community sector, United Way launched an initiative to help support the most vulnerable in response to the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) affecting our region. This collaboration has enabled local problem solving, prioritization of needs, and collaboration. To learn more about supporting the initiative, or if you require community service assistance, please visit unitedwayeo.ca/covid19.

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Help the most vulnerable as we respond to COVID-19.