COVID-19: Support Local Organizations

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.  

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 

Questions? [email protected]

The Ottawa Food Bank is also in need of donations of food and money. If you are able to contribute, please click here. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 

Ottawa ACORN 

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:  
 

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: [email protected]  

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/. 

Volunteer Ottawa

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.

Advocacy

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.


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