Local food banks are weeks, if not days, away from being empty, reports the United Way, and face a dramatic increase in the number of people who will require emergency food as businesses close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
United Way Windsor-Essex County is working alongside partners to develop a co-ordinated action plan to help vulnerable people affected, says Stefanie Slavik, the charity’s relationship manager.
“As the citizens of Windsor-Essex County adjust to many new challenges, people who already rely on meal programs and services will be facing additional struggles,” she says. “The absence of school nutrition programs will make it harder for children and families to cope.”
Slavik notes that some food banks have already closed due to insufficient staff, volunteers, and food donations.
United Way and the newly-formed Emergency Food Action Coalition are working to identify solutions to these challenges, and are circulating a list of actions for consideration by those concerned:
Share information – Tell others about the need and the call to action to give to the Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund. Visit www.weareunited.com/covid-19 to learn more about how you can help and what’s being done.
Donate – Help food banks and meal programs provide emergency food and supports in response to the pandemic. All gifts to the Emergency Response Fund come back to United Way to support local service providers.
Volunteer – The coalition is developing a plan to involve local volunteers with the safety of vulnerable residents as the priority. If you can help with the emergency response, contact Susan Merryfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.