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April 18, 2020

Woman stocking shelves with canned food.
Dear ,

Since this crisis began, we’ve been consistently asked two questions: “How can I help?” and “How is my donation being used in the community?”

Let me start by answering your first question. You already are helping. Hundreds of you joined us for our first-ever webinar on our community response to COVID-19. Many of you have reached out for ways to volunteer. Your choice to give to us, whether it’s volunteering or making a donation, has helped set our agencies up to respond successfully to this crisis.

How are we putting your donation to work right now? That’s what this digest is for—to let you know, in real time, how we’re investing funds to support our community's most vulnerable people and families during this crisis. This includes new emergency funds to meet emerging needs as well as the crucial ongoing support your gift is already providing to our network of 270 agencies across Peel, Toronto and York Region.

I’m so grateful for all of the ways you’re showing up for community—because the only way we’ll get through this is together.

Always, and only, thanks,

Daniele Zanotti signature
Daniele Zanotti
President & CEO


  • Food security
    Your support is funding a partnership between Hospitality Workers Training Centre and Second Harvest to distribute 3,000 prepared meals each week to six downtown agencies. These meals are distributed to people experiencing homelessness and street-involved residents, helping to alleviate increased demand on food banks and drop-in services.

  • Emergency funding
    In addition to the funding we’ve already allocated through our community tables, we put out a call on Thursday, April 9, to our 270 community agencies to submit proposals for emergency funding that they can use to meet urgent and emerging needs. We began receiving proposals Monday, April 13, and we are reviewing and sending out funding within 48 hours. This week alone we’ve funded 28 new emergency response programs.

    Your support is funding 18 agencies serving the Indigenous community—and organized under the Toronto Aboriginal Support Services Council (TASSC) COVID-19 Collective Response Task Force—to offer remote programming and to deliver meals and food hampers to Indigenous Elders, individuals and families in Toronto.


  Here are examples from across the GTA of how your support is allowing our agencies to respond to community needs right now:

Blue Door Shelters.

Blue Door Shelters

Blue Door Shelters is a United Way agency in York Region that provides safe, supportive shelter and services for people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of becoming homeless.

Because of United Way’s flexible funding made possible by your support:
  • Blue Door Shelters and York Region have teamed up to create a new isolation site for emergency housing that protects our community’s most vulnerable by allowing them to maintain a safe two-metre social distance.

CMHA Peel Dufferin.

CMHA Peel Dufferin

CMHA Peel Dufferin is a United Way agency that offers mental health supports to people and families in Peel, Dufferin and Rexdale.

Because of United Way’s flexible funding made possible by your support:
  • A team of mental health workers at CMHA Peel Dufferin are ready to respond immediately to mental health needs in their local community through a range of virtual services, including groups, telephone support and, if deemed urgent, community visits.


  Video still of Daniele Zanotti: National Volunteer Week. Thank you volunteers!

In times like these, community—and caring—has never mattered more. Which is why I’d like to say “thank you” to our mighty network of more than 20,000 United Way volunteers. Our GTA-wide network of agencies is even stronger, and more resilient, during this unprecedented global crisis because of the support of our volunteers. As we head into National Volunteer Week tomorrow, my heartfelt thanks to each of you.




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