Seniors programs get emergency funding
Haliburton County organizations are getting an injection of $20,000 thanks to a federal grant distributed through the United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes.
Worth $49,278, the federal government’s New Horizons for Seniors Program will provide emergency funding to the area’s food banks, the Rotary Club of Haliburton’s Good Food Box and SIRCH Community Services, which provide essential food services to seniors who are self-isolating, as well as individuals and families experiencing economic insecurity.
“Our hope is that this grant will enhance and support established programs. We are concerned that we have many seniors in rural areas who might become easily isolated,” said Penny Barton Dyke, executive director of United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes. “Together, we can ensure they receive food, supports and wellness checks with this funding. Seniors need to know that we are here for them and this is an unprecedented time, and so we all need to check in with others and ask for help or a friendly phone call.”
The United Way for CKL appreciated the government’s support and for increasing supports for individuals 55 and older.
The funding breakdown includes $5,000 for emergency food assistance organized by the Central Food Network, $4,500 to SIRCH Community Services, $4,000 for the Good Food Box (expansion, subsidies, help with deliveries) organized by the Rotary Club of Haliburton and $3,250 for the Minden Food Bank (medical offices have frozen meals and assist with purchasing food).
In a prepared statement, the Central Food Network’s secretary David O’Brien said, “We know that our local seniors were struggling with isolation and food security even before implications of COVID-19 hit home. Now, more than ever, we need to be reaching out to those who are most vulnerable to offer a helping hand. This funding will support several of our programs that aim to help seniors stay insulated, not isolated.”
Tina Jackson, CFN operational and administrative director, said the money supports services such as free delivery of groceries and emergency food, including prepared meals, through food banks in Wilberforce and Cardiff. It will also offer access to tax preparation services, allowing lower income seniors to continue to receive tax-related financial benefits, which helps to cover monthly expenses such as food and access to medication.
Gena Robertson, SIRCH Community Services executive director, said the donation covered the cost of food for the past two weeks. Since March 30, SIRCH has given out 2,575 meals and 530 soups, totalling 3,105.
Recipients of the prepared meals are those with disabilities, anxiety, those who lack cooking skills or resources, and those who are ill, homeless and elderly. Meals have been delivered to sites in all four of the county’s municipalities. During weekends, take-out meals are available and more than 700 meals and soups have been given during the past four Meals on Wheels deliveries.
Of the total federal grant, $20,000 was provided to the Community Care City of Kawartha Lakes.
The United Way is temporarily withholding the balance of $9,278, which will be applied to identified emergency needs for more vulnerable seniors or gaps identified by community leaders. This could include sudden increases in demand, or emergency equipment repairs, for example. The funds could also go to current recipients if there are no emergency requests. As part of the responsibilities and conditions of the funding, a small portion is used to provide a report back on outcomes of the services receiving funds.
Organizations were selected based on their current capacity to serve the immediate needs of seniors, their geographic area and the needs that they identified to United Way for the CKL.
New Horizons for Seniors Program provides grants for projects that improve the well-being of seniors and foster social inclusion. To provide more support for seniors during the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government announced flexibility for organizations to use funding received through the program’s community-based stream to provide immediate and essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19.
For more information about local funding or to donate to United Way for the City of Kawartha Lakes visit ckl-unitedway.ca.