United Way of Chatham Kent has been actively deploying the funds across Chatham-Kent raised through the COVID-19 Community Response Fund. By working with a network of charities, organizations and a variety of initiatives United Way has been able to identify and respond to the gaps, needs, trends and opportunities that are emerging locally.

“Through our collaborative process, there are hundreds of people involved. By working together it allows us to keep our fingers on the pulse in this community and address the critical needs when they arise.” Said Steve Pratt, CEO of United Way of Chatham Kent. “We all understand that the challenge before us is greater than any one person or organization can do on their own. By working together, in a united way, it has positioned our community really well to respond to COVID; while making sure we are not leaving folks behind”

In the community, businesses and individuals have raised $168,057.87 since COVID has started. At this time, over $100,000 has already been invested into Chatham-Kent to ensure that CK’s most vulnerable stay safe, healthy and out of the hospitals. These funds addressed Chatham-Kent’s emergency response to requiring basic needs: food, and personal protective equipment.

Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program is to help the organization’s immediate needs and ability to continue providing services to seniors during COVID.

“The implementation is happening as quickly as possible to insure resources are getting out in the community through local organizations,” said Pratt.

In March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that $9 million was to be invested across 5000+ communities through the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program. United Way of Chatham-Kent is happy to announce that they have received $49,808 of that program to help vulnerable seniors. The government has very clear outlines on how the money is to be allocated, with an earmark to support current organizations that are already working with vulnerable seniors. This Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program is to help the organization’s immediate needs (which have been disrupted due to COVID) and ability to continue providing services during this time. United Way is currently meeting with the organizations and having discussions now on where and how the dollars can best be invested within the next two weeks.

“What might have been a problem yesterday, may not be one today. Since this is a rapidly moving target, we did not have the ability to decide where the funds would be invested three weeks ago because we knew needs may change.” Said Pratt. “A few weeks ago we set up a process that would allow us the ability to meet with organizations rapidly once the dollars came in. We are trying to work as quickly as we possibly can, while responding to the best of our ability.”

The Government of Canada has also announced an Emergency Community Support Fund of $350 Million. United Way of Chatham-Kent is waiting on details in regards to the amount Chatham-Kent will receive as it is in partnership with United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations of Canada, and Red Cross working together to identify local needs and disperse funds into the community. They do however have the process and mechanism in place on how and where the dollars will flow when they do arrive.

Currently, funding raised through ckgives.ca, local philanthropists and all levels government are addressing pressing needs as they emerge. To ensure transparency, United Way of Chatham-Kent has partnered with Baker Tilly to audit the COVID-19 Community Response Fund as it is distributed into the community.

For organization needing immediate support while addressing the community’s needs during COVID are asked to visit ckgives.ca. There they will find an emergency support application at the bottom of the home page.