United Way Saint John, Kings & Charlotte, is working with the Atlantic Compassion Fund (AFC) and providing funding to meet the immediate needs for their community members feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since early April, the fund has distributed more than $118,000 in grants registered charities in the Saint John, Kings & Charlotte region. This funding means rapid solutions and supports for people and families who are struggling to get safe access to food, housing, medication, transportation, social and mental health supports.

Getting vulnerable people the support they need

Saint John has one of the highest child poverty rates in Canada. In fact, many families rely on school’s breakfast and lunch programs to provide meals for their children.  With the closures of schools and the need for social-distancing due to COVID-19, many families are now struggling to provide three nutritious meals a day to their children.

Low-income seniors who have relied on public transit and “shopping the sales” for their groceries now find it difficult to get what they need. Seniors are often frightened to leave their homes because of the risk of severe symptoms caused by COVID-19, which can lead to an even greater sense of isolation.

Curbside delivery

To respond to these urgent needs, the Emergency Food Program, which received funding from the AFC is providing citywide delivery of emergency groceries to people isolated or in need during the COVID-19 crisis.  Over the past six weeks, they have provided 1,208 food packs to 3,635 individuals, including 2,086 adults (of which a third are seniors) and 1,549 children. The average grocery pack provides 10 individually portioned meals. This all adds up to 36,350 meals provided in a very short period to the people who need it most.