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United Way of KFL&A update on local initiatives and COVID-19 response

Hot meal programs, food baskets for seniors, and a backpack campaign to provide school supplies to local students are just some of the ways the local United Way is helping out during the pandemic.

The United Way of KFL&A has released an update today, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, detailing the local impact of donations to the COVID-19 Response Fund, Seniors Helping Seniors, the local Backpack Campaign, and this year’s campaign kickoff plans.

COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund update

The United Way continues to work with frontline agencies to ensure the community is able to serve all residents, especially those who are particularly vulnerable. Thanks to donations to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund and funds being stewarded through the United Way, thousands of individuals have received support in these challenging times, reads the update.

While the United Way has been providing much support through community donations, the needs continue. Food is the number one need through these uncertain times, says the United Way.

Meal and food programs have grown exponentially, with 1,600 meals served every day and 3,300 hampers/baskets being delivered every month to low-income seniors, students and families, reads the update.  There is also an increased need for mental health supports and counselling, with many people needing subsidies as they lose benefits and the ability to pay.  According to the United Way, calls for support for domestic violence and sexual assault have grown considerably.

In the first four months of the pandemic the United Way has funded programs to help local agencies step up to support these needs:

  • $1.6 million of special COVID-related funding was invested in 87 local programs
  • 42,000 individuals have been helped across Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington – meals, food, counselling, support
  • Additionally, over $900,000 was invested in supporting and providing stable funding for partner agency programs in the same period.

According to the United Way, local agencies have used this funding to innovate, adapt their programs, add virtual components and technology, and find new ways to support essential services through this period. 

For more information on how to help, visit https://www.unitedwaykfla.ca/covid-19/ . For a list of grants please visit https://www.unitedwaykfla.ca/grants/

Retirees United asks seniors to help seniors

Since the beginning of the pandemic, United Way KFL&A’s Retirees United members have been quick to step up and show their support; now they are asking seniors in the community, who may have the means, to give back if they can.

“My wife and I are fortunate that, with reduced living costs and no travelling expenses, we are coping. So, we each decided to contribute the $300 OAS supplement to help seniors who are in need”, states Jim Parker. “For us the obvious charity was United Way KFL&A because it has been a local leader in addressing the needs of our community with its special COVID fund. As a volunteer with the Seniors’ Food Box program, I am aware of how much this has helped provide healthy and fresh food for seniors who are not able to shop or to afford such food. If you are one of those fortunate enough to not need this OAS supplement, please consider donating it to a responsible support program for our fellow Seniors.”

Please visit www.unitedwaykfla.ca/donate and check Seniors Helping Seniors if you are able to help in this way. Funds raised will support Seniors Food Boxes for seniors with low-income. 

Backpack Campaign

With back to school just a few weeks away, the United Way KFL&A are running their annual Backpack Campaign to help provide families and children with supplies for the school year.

According to the United Way update, the demand for these supplies is higher than ever and the United Way is using funds typically given to the Backpack Campaign to purchase supplies and distribute them through local school boards and agencies in the Kingston community. Agencies in Lennox and Addington and Frontenac have received funds separately to purchase and distribute supplies, says the update.

With the support of corporate sponsors, and United Way funding, agencies and school boards will distribute backpacks and school supplies directly to children and youth across the region.

If you would like to support this initiative, the United Way is accepting donations of funds or supplies to help set students up for the upcoming school year. To donate, please contact [email protected] or visit www.unitedwaykfla.ca/donate/ and indicate in the box that you’d like your funds directed to the Backpack Program.

2020 Campaign And Kick Off

According to the update, the 2020 Campaign will look different this year, including the traditional Campaign Kick Off.

The staff and volunteers will not be celebrating with the usual breakfast at the Ambassador, but Campaign Chair Antje McNeely, the Campaign Cabinet and staff have been working hard to find ways to make the day just as memorable and inspiring.

On Friday, Sept 11, 2020, this year’s goal will be announced, and videos, photos, interviews and more will be available to view on the United Way of KFL&A website, and via email and their social media channels. More info will be available in the weeks to come.

The campaign itself is being adapted to include more virtual tools and supports, including agency speakers, tours, online materials and training, says the United Way. 

“People in the community need support now more than ever; with continued community support, the United Way can continue to meet immediate needs and support the most vulnerable,” the local United Way said in the release.

Stay up to date by following the United Way on their social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn and of course, you can find regular updates on their website at www.unitedwaykfla.ca

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