As challenges increase, several organizations and businesses are asking others to give if they can.
Local foundations, Municipal government, several businesses, and philanthropists who have been meeting regularly since the pandemic started are asking the community to continue giving, if they can.
The Co-Investors Table had their first collective meeting April 2nd as a way to coordinate both funding efforts and resources to meet the emergency needs brought on by the pandemic announced mid-March. Since then, $1.9 million dollars has been invested into the Chatham-Kent community to address challenges like food insecurity, homelessness, mental health and addictions, and other social issues that have intensified due to isolation. As a result, over 80 human and social services organizations serving our community’s most vulnerable have been buoyed up, but they are not out of the water yet.
Concurrently, Social Planning & Action Tables – one for each of the causes listed above, and more – were also created as a way to connect these groups and facilitate coordination of services. The Co-Investor funds were allocated based on needs identified by these groups.
Wes Thompson, a participant on the Co-Investors Table, says “while many individuals and families continue to suffer as a result of the pandemic, financially speaking, some have fared very well as demonstrated through a phenomenon called the K-Curve. Put simply, this means the gap between the haves and have nots is growing.”
Local entrepreneur and Table participant Robb Nelson says, “the same disparity can be seen in the business community, strengthening the importance of shopping and supporting local businesses. We are seeing both individuals and businesses reporting record growth. At the same time, we are seeing both individuals and businesses losing everything.”
“It is estimated that the number of people accessing food banks will be four to six times greater this winter compared to last winter. Homelessness has increased by 88% in Chatham-Kent since the pandemic started, and this number is expected to climb,” according to Polly Smith, Director of Employment and Social Services at the Municipality of Chatham-Kent.
Ruth Hook, Chair of the Chatham-Kent Community Foundation says, “Joining the United Way of Chatham-Kent and the Red Cross at the Co-investor Table provides us with the opportunity to learn about the needs of the community and the other supports being provided. We in Chatham-Kent are very caring and supportive of each other, and we believe we can come out of this with a stronger, more unified community.”