The COVID-19 pandemic has hit our region hard. The Community Foundation is:
- responding to the current challenges of our local organizations,
- will support recovery of these essential organizations, and will
- lead in supporting the rebuilding of our region for the wellbeing of all citizens.
We continue to monitor this quickly moving situation and are working to provide supports that will assist and help those most vulnerable in our community and bridge the gaps. In response, we have established the Better Together COVID Response Fund to support all sectors serving our community, and the Community Kitchen and Foodbank Fund to ensure our vulnerable population have access to healthy and adequate food.
Better Together COVID Response Fund: We have not dealt with an economic and health crisis prior and recognize these times are unprecedented. This fund will support organizations now as they manage the crisis and will be available as they rebuild to their new norm.
Community Kitchen and Foodbank Fund: This fund is designated to support the Salvation Army food hamper needs and the Community Kitchen hot meal program.
We cannot estimate the timelines but know the needs are immense and changing quickly. To date:
- All organizations have closed their offices
- Most organizations cannot serve their clients
- Some staff are meeting with a small number of clients via phone and online
- Many staff have lost their jobs
- Necessary fundraising events have been cancelled and will cause operational deficits
- Shelter, food, mental health and youth related demands are increasing rapidly
- Essential childcare organizations are closed
From recent conversations, we know:
- Our vulnerable population has challenges in meeting social isolation requirements and has limited access to food for clients which includes men, families and disabled community members.
- There is an increase in demand for hot meals and family support programing.
- Our foodbank is running out of supplies and facing higher demand.
- Agencies expect to have a significant operational deficit in the future due to loss of revenue from fundraising and donations
- Some organizations have an operational deficit and are concerned with how to pay ongoing operational expenses like maintenance, utilities, staffing, etc.
These are only a few examples of today’s challenges. It is expected the needs of local organizations and uncertainties will escalate over the next few months. We are working closely with all partners to provide flexible funding and support them without creating barriers. Our intent is to be sure community organizations have the necessary support now and into the future.
Tracey Vavrek, CEO