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May 30, 2020

A man sitting on a fold-out bed at a United Way-funded agency.
Dear ,

Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, recently announced that early data from the pandemic is showing that people living in areas that have the highest proportion of low-income earners, recent immigrants and high unemployment rates had higher rates of COVID-19 and hospitalization.

This growing inequality of people who are doing well and those who aren’t is startling, even in the context of the pandemic. While we continue to address urgent issues for the people and families who need us most, we have already begun the complex work of transitioning our region-wide fundraising campaign to address our community’s long-term recovery.

Now is the time to dig in. To invest in a strong social safety net that will sustain our community for months and years ahead. To remind ourselves that we must do whatever we can, despite our own challenging circumstances, to help those who are struggling the most.

Always, and only, thank you.

Daniele Zanotti signature
Daniele Zanotti
President & CEO


  A laptop sitting on a desk showing a message that reads: Let’s come together with community.

Our York Region virtual town hall is next week (June 3), and we’ll be joined by the following distinguished panellists: Honourable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors and MP, King-Vaughan; Cordelia Abankwa, General Manager, Social Services, The Regional Municipality of York; and Gregory MacKenzie, Chief Legal Officer & Corporate Secretary, 407 ETR. There is still time to sign up to join us.

And don’t forget to register for our Peel Region Town Hall on June 11 and AGM on June 23.




COVID-19 has stretched the social service sector to its limits. Before, during and after this crisis, we’re working with local partners in, and for, community to meet urgent and ongoing needs with swift, impactful action. Here’s how:



Calls are up 1,000 per cent year over year at the Toronto Seniors Helpline (TSH), a free Toronto-wide hotline that provides seniors and their caregivers with mental health, financial and other supports.


United Way donors are funding 55 emergency programs that are meeting the immediate needs of vulnerable seniors, while also ensuring our network of agencies continues to be there for seniors as our community recovers.



In 2018, combined counts in Peel, Toronto and York found 10,026 people using shelters, 24-hour respite services or living outdoors. These living conditions can make people particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.


In addition to our ongoing work, we are funding 22 new programs that are delivering emergency support to people experiencing homelessness in the GTA, including providing access to food and other necessities.



A recent Angus Reid study found that 50 per cent of Canadians reported feeling that their mental health had worsened during the pandemic.


Thanks to our donors, we’re funding 21 emergency programs that, in combination with existing mental health services provided by our agencies, are supporting our community’s mental well-being during this crisis.

Learn more about where we’ve been investing in the GTA—thanks to the generosity of our donors and federal funding—in order to respond to emergency needs in the community.


  Emergency dollars continue to flow quickly and efficiently into community to help many of the GTA’s most vulnerable seniors. Here’s a snapshot of three (out of a current total of 51) local programs funded by $850,000 from the Government of Canada's New Horizons for Seniors Program and administered by us.

Photo of the exterior of the Carefirst building, a multi-story modern grey building.

Carefirst Seniors and Community Services Association (Toronto)

Keeps isolated, vulnerable seniors and marginalized individuals safe and supported by delivering meals, groceries, medication and other essential items, as well as providing transportation, counselling support and care co-ordination.

Photo of the exterior of Hospice Georgina, a yellow brick building with a blue awning.

Hospice Georgina (York Region)

Provides additional staff to address the growing need for phone-based grief, and other forms of, counselling, as well as food, technology, transportation and medication needs.

Photo of Malton Neighbourhood Services, a multi-story brick building with an arch of windows.

Malton Neighbourhood Services (Peel)

Provides adapted programming to offer virtual supports to seniors who are isolated and struggling with mental health issues and delivers culturally-appropriate food items.


  A pile of thank-you notes drawn with pencil crayon and markers.

Opportunity: Say thanks to frontline community workers

Grab your family and get out your craft supplies. We need your help to say thank you to the thousands of community agency workers who are on the frontlines of our community response to COVID-19. Create a homemade card or draw a picture sharing your words of encouragement, then contact to find an agency location close to home where you can drop off your cards.


  Two people in masks standing next to the open trunk of a car carrying food deliveries.

Our agencies and their staff, who are on the frontlines of community every day, are doing incredible work. We can’t thank them enough and this short video is our tribute to them. And, thanks to you and your support, these incredible community heroes can continue to do this important work in the weeks, months and years to come.




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