Centretown Emergency Food Centre
The Centretown Emergency Food Centre located in the basement of Centretown United Church, which also serves parts of Capital Ward, provides assistance to residents who struggle to access food. The Ottawa Food Bank has increased the food it is giving but the Food Centre also relies on food donations and purchased foods. If you are able, you can bring donations of staples to the Emergency Food Centre. They are located at 507 Bank Street (at the corner of Bank and Argyle).
You can also donate here.
Please remember to take proper precautions, including social distancing and handwashing.
Centretown Community Health Centre
The Centretown Community Health Centre (CCHC) activated its pandemic plan last Friday, as did all community health centres. CCHC is part of the OPH pandemic plan and have also been directed to help staff the COVID-19 assessment centres by Friday this week.
They are down to essential services and prioritizing supporting those who are most vulnerable. You can check their website to stay informed on their response at www.centretownchc.org. They are also working with many partners in the social services sector to ensure a coordinated effort to support the most vulnerable.
The Well and St Luke's Table
Regular programs are closed, but they are handing out lunches on weekdays at noon to those in need of a nutritious meal. They would like to dispense toiletry and personal hygiene products with the lunches but are very low on the following items: soap, body wash, shampoo, toilet paper. Pet food and gift cards would also be very much appreciated. You can deliver donations to St Luke's Table, corner of Bell and Somerset West, by calling 613-238-4193 first to advise them of the drop off which can be left outside the door; pickups may also be possible.
Glebe Annex—Neighbourhood initiative on COVID-19
Residents of the Glebe Annex and Little Italy are coming together to help each other during the coming weeks and months. They are sharing a spreadsheet to coordinate a neighbourhood response to COVID-19. It has three main tabs: ⠀⠀⠀⠀
- Help a neighbour out: From dog walking to supply drop-off, video/phone calls for those feeling isolated to occasional childcare. Many are fortunate to be able to work from home and stock up on supplies, but many more are not! Think: how can you support those who don’t have these same privileges?
- Request List: How can your neighbours help you get through the weeks ahead?
- Community Resources: From food banks to local testing centres, where can people access these essential services? ⠀
The Ottawa Food Bank
During the current COVID-19 crisis, the Ottawa Food Bank is asking those interested in supporting the community to create and register a volunteer profile. This will assist the Ottawa Food Bank in creating a pool of volunteers. Once completed, registered volunteers can sign up for posted volunteers opportunities, as well as receive emails, updates and specific requests for support. Keep an eye on the sign-up calendar for opportunities to help distribute hampers to deserving families & individuals in need.
Note: A volunteer information session is not required to volunteer at this time
The Ottawa Food Bank is also in need of donations of food and money. If you are able to contribute, please click here. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
ACORN is a community union of low- and moderate-income people fighting for social and economic justice. They are a multi-issue community organization that does not rely on funding from the government or corporations. Organizers engage new people and identify common issues by going door to door (this is currently suspended). Given that ACORN members are people with disabilities, single parent households, newcomers and low wage workers, their membership is particularly vulnerable to the virus and housing insecurity. So here are a few of things they are doing that others can support to help low income tenants:
- Creating a list of isolated seniors and people who are immuno-compromised who need support so we can connect them with resources and provide regular check-ins. Link here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1gGGZhe_cyETRXuQ3lvViNJryPzeFkAUrWekNa76G_iQ/viewform?edit_requested=true
- Organizing teleconferences so that low income tenants can meet virtually, get the latest information on COVID 19, discuss the issues they want to see changed and brainstorm digital or telephone actions to pressure targets. You can learn about the next teleconference by joining our e-newsletter here: https://acorncanada.org/newsletter
They have also set up the ACORN Support Network to offer help to our most vulnerable members during the COVID-19 pandemic, which does the following:
- Engages with people on a regular basis
- Gives up to date info on unfolding crisis
- Connects people with services available in their community
- Gets them active in ACORN COVID-19 Campaigns
- Digital literacy workshops so they can be connected to family and friends
Ottawa ACORN is looking for volunteers to help their members with obtaining groceries. If you have time, a car, and are in a low-risk population of COVID-19, please consider volunteering as a grocery driver for the ACORN Support Network.
If you would like to volunteer with Ottawa ACORN email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are unable to volunteer, consider making a donation to ACORN.
Kids’ Help Phone
For those that may be looking for ways to help out and volunteer with the current situation, while staying at home, the Kids’ Help Phone is in desperate need of volunteers to staff its texting service. This is a vital resource for youth at any time, but vulnerable youth are at heightened risk of seriously worsening mental health at this time. They have also extended their services to youth over 25 years old who are former youth in care (of our child welfare system) and are particularly vulnerable to social isolation.
Please consider volunteering. You don’t need any experience and only have to commit to four hours per week.
The United Way
OPH has asked the United Way to help support the social needs of Ottawa residents while they deal with COVID-19 pandemic. The United Way has identified the following needs, while anticipating they will continue to grow:
- Help for seniors: ensure that while vulnerable people are isolated, they are also supported
- Basic needs: ensure people have access to life’s essentials, such as food
- Capacity for community services: ensure that community partners can continue to do their vital local work
- Mental health support: enable crisis lines and system navigation services
- Support for volunteers: there are amazing people rallying to support others – they need our help too
If you would wish to donate to support this work, or if require assistance from the United Way, please visit their website: https://unitedwayeocovid19.ca/.
Personal Protective Equipment Donations
City of Ottawa
The City has launched a formal donation process for businesses and residents to donate commercial-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect our emergency responders and front-line workers supporting the COVID-19 pandemic response.
This formal donation process has been established in response to the many residents and businesses who have contacted the City through many channels with donation offerings.
The PPE supplies must be commercial-grade and in its original packaging. These items include, but are not limited to:
- N95 masks (1870+ or 1805)
- Surgical masks
- Procedural masks
- Face shields
- Protective gowns
- Protective goggles and glasses
- Hand sanitizers
- Disinfectant wipes
Homemade personal protective equipment will not be accepted.
To donate, the City is asking interested businesses and residents to email email@example.com and provide information on the items and quantities. The City will review donations offered and arrange with you for a drop-off or pick-up of the items.
The City is also in constant communication with The Ottawa Hospital, which is collecting, processing and storing all donated medical equipment, to help supply the many front-line healthcare staff across the Eastern Ontario region who are responding to the pandemic. You can contact The Ottawa Hospital at COVIDdonations@toh.ca.
uOttawa Medical Student Fundraising Initiative
In Ottawa, many frontline healthcare professionals such as physicians and nurses do not have adequate access to personal protective equipment (PPE), including face masks, gowns, gloves, N95 respirators. This puts them at greater risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 amongst themselves and to patients. We are a group of University of Ottawa medical students who aim to fundraise money towards supplying healthcare workers with critical protective equipment so that they can continue to save lives. At the University of Ottawa Medical School, we have organized a local fundraising initiative to raise money for the purchase and distribution of PPE for healthcare professionals in Ottawa and surrounding areas. All donations made to our campaign go towards purchasing and distributing PPE to those healthcare professionals with the greatest need. Funds are being collected through our GoFundMe page (gf.me/u/xsggwh). If you have any questions about donating or our campaign, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Volunteer Ottawa is coordinating Ottawa's volunteer response to COVID-19 in concert with the City of Ottawa Human Services Task Force, Ottawa Public Health and United Way Eastern Ontario. They could use more resources to facilitate this work and are accepting donations here.
Buy Local Campaign
The COVID-19 crisis has had a detrimental impact on small local businesses, while many of their large corporate competitors have seen an increase in sales (e.g. Amazon and other corporations that offer well-known delivery services). Making an effort to buy local during this pandemic, then, not only protects many beloved small businesses in Ottawa, it also helps stem growing economic inequality that results when consumption increasingly favours large corporations over local small businesses. Access our Buy Local resource page here.
Ecology Ottawa is calling on the mayor and City Councillors to re-purpose underused roadways to provide safe outdoor access for pedestrians and cyclists during the Covid-19 crisis. They want Ottawa to safeguard public health while providing residents with access to fresh air and exercise during this emergency period. They want city-wide policy direction with resources from general funds in support of this urgent initiative. Sign their petition here.
ACORN has a national campaign which demands eviction bans in every province, a rent freeze and rent holidays for tenants suffering from the virus or self-isolating, expanding EI to be accessible for ALL and payment freezes on high interest loans from payday lenders, installment loans etc. So far 3,000 emails have been generated to Trudeau, Premiers and local MPPs/MPs - you can do the same here.
The Fight for $15 & Fairness is calling on federal and provincial government to introduce Health Emergency Labour Protections (H.E.L.P.): including 21 paid emergency leave days for ALL, greater access to employment insurance and an emergency fund that leaves no one behind. You can sign their petition here.
Keep Your Rent, Ottawa is calling for a freeze on rents across Ontario, no back pay as a result of unpaid rents, and a freeze on rent increases. Contact them here to get involved.
The City for All Women Initiative (CAWI) is increasingly concerned about the lack of an Equity and Inclusion Lens in the City’s emergency responses to COVID-19. While the City has taken various positive steps, such as including diverse voices in emergency response planning, women continue to fall through the cracks. In these unprecedented circumstances, CAWI urges the City to apply an intersectional gender Equity and Inclusion Lens to the City’s emergency response in this open letter, which you can sign.
Our office has sent a letter to the province calling for community gardens be identified as an essential community food service and be exempt from the recent closure of recreational spaces. Community gardens provide an essential function by supplementing residents’ diets, increasing access to more culturally appropriate food, making grocery dollars go further, and increasing local resiliency. Our office has been in touch with Ottawa Public Health, who have indicated that if the Province were to allow the opening of gardens later this spring, they would be prepared to provide guidance for their use to minimize COVID-19 risks.