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United Way Ramps Up Community Response To Omicron Emergency

Pandemic response continues to build on emergency grants and community coordination table work

January 25, 2022 – In response to the latest emergency brought on by the COVID-19 Omicron variant, United Way Greater Toronto is mobilizing with community sector partners to ensure that critical community services remain open for those in urgent need. Basics continue to be a priority as many people struggle to get food on the table, and community agencies face challenges in accessing protective equipment for staff providing crucial support services. 

“Since day one of this pandemic, the community sector has been a safety net working on the frontlines alongside our health care and education systems – and it is determined to keep going,” said Daniele Zanotti, United Way President and CEO. “Thank you to community agency staff and volunteers who continue to work tirelessly to help those facing the greatest barriers.” 

Since early January, United Way Greater Toronto is: 

  • Granting emergency funding: Supporting the Front Line is a new emergency fund directing grants to critical in-person and in-home services, from food and gift cards to protective equipment and staff support 
  • Convening local community coordination tables in Toronto, York and Peel Region: United Way continues to work with senior government and community agency  partners across the region to address local program closures, re-direct clients and lend staff to maintain essential services: food security, services for seniors and people with disabilities, as well as harm reduction and mental health services 
  • Coordinating supports: Volunteer centres within our network including Volunteer Toronto, Volunteer Markham and Volunteer MBC have volunteers on hand and ready to be deployed to maintain services. Access volunteer COVID recovery services here

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, United Way has offered flexibility with funding so agencies can pivot in dynamic situations, dispersed $2.3 million in Local Love Fund emergency funding and over $26 million in federal emergency grants, and partnered with municipal and regional governments to fill service gaps. Beyond emergency response, United Way continues to advocate for longer-term solutions to poverty — affordable housing, and access to good jobs.

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