United Way of Cumberland County Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

As communities across the world move quickly in response to COVID-19 Pandemic. On March 17th, 2020 the United Way of Cumberland County along with ten other United Ways throughout Atlantic Canada created the Atlantic Compassion Fund.  Tom Rose, President of Atlantic Business Interiors donated up to $100,000. in office equipment to support the non-profit sector in their ability to work remotely.  In addition, Rose offered to match dollar for dollar for the first $100,000. by encouraging businesses and individuals to contribute. Here in Cumberland County we were able to distribute $15,000 in funds to Amherst Food Bank, Open Hamper Food Bank, Maggie’s Place, YMCA and Chignecto-Central Regional Center for Education.

On Sunday, March 29, 2020 the Prime Minister announced an $9M investment by the Government of Canada to a COVID-19 Seniors Response Fund.  The United Way of Cumberland County quickly responded to this most urgent need for our most vulnerable seniors at risk due to the COVID-19 crisis.   Through an application process the VON of Cumberland County was awarded $20,000. to provide basic needs like food, hot meals and no cost delivery service. They provided outreach and social supports through safety check in’s to seniors’ on their doorstep as well  phone check in’s.

Just a month after the COVID-19 Senior Response Fund the Federal Government announced a new $350M Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) to help charities and non-profit organizations adapt frontline services supporting vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The ECSF is funded by the Government of Canada and is administered in collaboration with the United Way Centraide Canada, Community Foundations of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross. The United Way of Cumberland County  have been tasked to strengthen the capacity of community service organizations to meet the urgent needs of vulnerable individuals and families disproportionately impacted by this virus.

“Charities and non-profit organizations are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, acting as lifelines for many vulnerable Canadians.  The Government of Canada is pleased to support these organizations through the Emergency Community Support Fund so they can continue their invaluable work,” says The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development.

Application quickly went out to community organization and after careful review 10 Cumberland County organizations were awarded $130,000.  They are: Cumberland County Transportation Services, Kidney Foundation, Sexual Health Center, Bridge Adult Workshop, VON, Maggie’s Place, Autism NS Cumberland, Amherst Preschool, YMCA of Cumberland and After the School Bell.

“We are grateful to the Government of Canada for investing in our community and we are honoured to collaborate with the Federal Government to ensure these critical funds reach those who need it most. We know recovery from the pandemic will take months, likely years, and the demand for social services continues to climb across Canada we must pull together and build resilience and stability in our community.  More people are now on the edge of crisis, and our annual fundraising campaign will be more critical that ever before.” says United Way of Cumberland County, Executive Director, Cathy Skinner.