United Way Winnipeg (UWW) is facing multiple community issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. By funding Family Resource Centre (FRC) programs and services, joint efforts have pulled the community together to ensure vulnerable people have their basic needs met.

Many FRCs are providing emergency kits to help with basic needs including food, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, baby supplies, and activity kits for children.

Curbside food security

Prepared meals and food kits are also being offered either for pick-up or curbside delivery to those who are homeless, older adults or those unable to access the centres because the doors have closed due to COVID-19.

Families who would normally depend on school breakfast and lunch programs to feed their children now must arrange with the FRC closest to them for their nutrition needs.

This pandemic has also brought on an increased need for crisis counselling. This is being addressing by phone and video counselling, and regular phone wellness checks with their participants. In addition to their counselling and domestic violence supports, one centre in Winnipeg has introduced a phone line for isolated older adults to be connected to an agency that helps to find and connect them with resources, such as food hampers, medication deliveries, and specialized social supports.

Reaching into community

Centres are reaching out to their clients through social media and engaging them through recorded cultural teachings, stress reduction exercises, children’s activities that parents can do at home and information and resources regarding COVID-19.

Food security is clearly an issue in Winnipeg and through UWW, food packages and support are getting into the hands of the people and families that need them most.

Here’s what a staff member at the Thrive Community Support Circle had to say about the help they are receiving to serve their clients: “The stress on local food banks is immense, so having the financial support to purchase things we are missing and order sanitization help make it easier to support our community during this challenging time.”