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June 20, 2020

An adult’s hands cupping the hands of a child who is holding a heart.
Dear ,

A twelve-year-old girl named Jasreen recently reached out to a United Way-supported agency with a donation of food and hygiene products. She wanted to do her own small part to help, acknowledging that the need among those experiencing homelessness is greater than ever as a result of the pandemic. “We can’t lose humanity and kindness,” Jasreen shared in her letter. “We are doing this because we care…and because our small act of kindness can help so many people.”

I couldn’t have put it better myself, Jasreen. Thank you for your donation and for your inspiring words. As restrictions start to ease and we begin the hard work of recovery and adapting to our new reality, I remain tremendously hopeful about our future because of people like you. Thank you for being part of what I like to call our GTA-wide “care collaborative,” one that continues to mobilize tens of thousands of supporters in Peel, Toronto and York Region to ensure vital lifelines to community stay open and accessible.

This week, I’m sharing some important news on your support in action on the issue of food security, updates on the federal funding for the GTA, opportunities to show your local love from home and more.

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 virtual AGM is on June 23 and we’ll be joined by the following distinguished panellists: Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development and MP, York South-Weston; Toyo Ajibolade, Executive Director, Lady Ballers Camp; and Beth Wilson, CEO, Dentons Canada LLP. There is still time to sign up to join us.




Access to food has emerged as one of the most important, and ongoing, needs during the pandemic and has reinforced the connection between food security and equity. United Way-supported agencies Black Creek Community Farm and FoodShare Toronto have been connecting the issue of hunger with the other social determinants of health—race, class, health and housing—as they respond to growing need. They’ve delivered hundreds of FoodShare’s Good Food Boxes (full of fresh produce) to local residents, including seniors, racialized families and those who are precariously employed. They’ve also partnered with 50 other community organizations to deliver 20,000+ emergency food boxes to more than 500 Foodora couriers who lost their jobs as well as Black and Indigenous families who had to self-isolate after attending a protest march at the end of May. The agency is also working with families living in rental apartments in the Flemingdon Park, Black Creek and York South-Weston communities, offering do-it-yourself balcony gardening kits.


Applications for the federally funded Emergency Community Support Fund (of which United Way Greater Toronto received $11 million) closed June 19. We plan to notify agencies as soon as possible with our funding decisions so that programs can start by the end of July. These one-time emergency grants will help agencies meet the urgent needs of vulnerable individuals and families affected by COVID-19. Learn more about additional federally funded programs we’re supporting in community.


  Closeup photo of a keyboard with one red key with the word "Donate" on it.

Donating to anti-racism organizations here in the GTA—and across Canada—is one way that you can show your support for, and allyship with, your Black friends and neighbours who experience this systemic issue. Here are 25 charities, organizations and agencies where you can make a gift.


  Screenshot from one of the town hall Zoom calls.

Over the past two weeks, we’ve come together virtually with more than 500 community members in Peel and York regions as part of our online town halls. Don’t worry, if you missed these community conversations—featuring a group of distinguished panellists—you can watch recorded versions of the Peel and York town halls.



  A person sewing by hand.

Opportunity: Volunteer from home (DIY kits)

Our do-it-yourself guide offers fun, creative and flexible ways for you and a group of your colleagues, family, friends and neighbours to show some local love for community from the comfort of your own home. It includes a list of supplies, instructions on how to assemble the kits and directions on how to donate them to a United Way agency in your community. Activities include putting together a family meal kit, making homemade masks, creating COVID-19 protection kits and assembling baby essentials. To learn more about these activities and more, download our volunteer from home guide.

Fresh produce.

Opportunity: Fruits and veggies that give back

Your donation to United Way supports our network of agencies, which is tackling food insecurity in the GTA. Another way you can help while getting fresh produce delivered right to your door? Sign up to receive a Good Food Box from FoodShare, a United Way agency. The Good Food Box is the affordable way to keep your fridge stocked with fruits and vegetables that are good for you, good for your family and good for your community. Every purchase supports FoodShare and their diverse range of programs and initiatives in the community.



  In this op-ed I penned for, a forum dedicated to defining a strong vision for Canada’s economy, I talk about ways we can connect people to stable, in-demand jobs while giving them the wraparound supports they need to be successful.

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