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Federal government joins United Ways across Canada in helping vulnerable seniors

Photo Credit – CBC News

On behalf of United Way Leeds & Grenville, I would like to thank the federal government for announcing funding to United Way Centraide Canada to support vulnerable seniors during the COVID-19 crisis. This means so much at this trying time.

This is an important announcement as it represents a recognition of the impact that the global COVID-19 crisis has had on charitable organizations serving the most vulnerable populations across Canada. We are also heartened by the signal that more investments like this will come. As our communities grapple with the effects of COVID-19, we welcome the opportunity to further our collaboration with the federal government to serve vulnerable Canadians during this pandemic and through our collective recovery afterwards.

Isolated seniors are one of the most vulnerable populations even before the context of a global pandemic. Seniors normally rely on community day-programming where they can socialize with others, participate in physical activity, eat well and maintain a connection to their community.

We also know that seniors are most at risk of contracting and becoming seriously ill due to COVID-19, and day programs have had to close their doors, leaving seniors across our entire region isolated and disconnected. Stuck in their homes, they are afraid for what might happen to them. They are worried about being unable to do anything about it. They feel alone.

The March 29th investment from the federal government will help us ensure local seniors are not left behind during COVID-19.

There is so much more to be done.

United Way Leeds & Grenville is committed to the most marginalized in our community and we recognize the increased risk and disadvantage that poverty creates.

We support homeless youth, people living in poverty, isolated seniors and many others who are now at even higher risk of poor outcomes due to COVID-19. Now, we are seeing even more people who are in need because of isolation, mental health challenges, violence at home they can’t escape, or inability to prepare for and maintain self-isolation under their financial circumstances.

We’re responding as best we can by partnering with local agencies, municipalities, public health authorities and generous donors. Together, we are working to uncover the greatest needs in the community, and organize our resources together to achieve the greatest impact – to help the most vulnerable, who are depending on us.

United Way Centraide Canada and others, have also been calling on the federal government to create a Community Response Fund to support vulnerable Canadians, and a sector stabilization program to ensure the charities Canadians depend on can survive the current crisis and serve Canadians today, and in the months and years to come.

We are hopeful this much-needed help will arrive in the coming days.

We know residents are struggling at increasing rates with their mental health, many have unmet basic needs, and community agencies and volunteers need support to keep their services running. These are critical areas that would benefit from further federal funding so no one gets left behind. 

During Sunday’s announcement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also called on Canadians with the means to do so, to continue donating to the charities that resonate with you.

We need your help, too, in these unprecedented times.

United Way Leeds & Grenville has established a COVID-19 Relief Funds to help your friends, family and neighbours at this trying time. Please consider donating what you can – every dollar counts!


Trish Buote
Executive Director
United Way Leeds & Grenville

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