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Covid Response

Trusted Federal Partner During COVID-19

In May 2020, the Government of Canada created the Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF) to provide financial support to charities and other qualified groups which were adapting frontline services to support vulnerable Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic.

United Way was selected to partner with the Federal government to support the investment of $1.76 million in our local community because of our ability to respond rapidly to our community’s unique needs during the pandemic.

Over $485,000 was raised by United Way to support the local COVID-19 Emergency Response.

Impact by the Numbers

  • 48,567 unique people served, with funds distributed to 52 local projects, 73% of which were new programs and partners not currently funded by United Way
  • 25,428 social inclusion calls
  • 28,006 home care visits
  • 13,524 calls to help find or navigate community services
  • 18,443 mental health calls
  • 89,934 meals, food baskets and essential items delivered/served

United Ways across Canada supported this important effort. To see the national impact of this Federal investment on Canadians visit  

Meet one of the Windsor-Essex recipients.

Hello. My name is Nicole. I came to Canada as a refugee claimant in October 2019.   The new life in a new country was already not easy, and when COVID-19 happened, life got more complicated. When the Province of Ontario announced the lockdown, I did not know what to expect. Schools closed. No buses were running. Organizations that offered guidance to settlement in Canada also closed down their in-person services.

For me, it is not just about having a computer. It meant that I can now look for a job online mainly because the pandemic decreased employment opportunities. I need to look and find a job every way I can.  It meant having more opportunities to settle in Canada successfully, even during the pandemic.

Shortly after, I learned that most organizations switched to remote and virtual format to help newcomers; unfortunately, I had no way to participate meaningfully since I did not have a computer. Even though I had my phone, that was not enough to fully engage in the different programs and activities. I needed to continue to attend school and learn English. It was also important to me to continue my job search while improving my computer skills. All those had to stop when we were all asked to stay at home for everyone’s health and safety.

Luckily, I learned about an organization that was distributing laptops to refugee claimants. I immediately completed the form and submitted my application. It did not take long for me to hear back from them to let me know that I was approved to receive a personal laptop. I was delighted to receive the good news.

I am happy to share that I am now back attending my online English class. I have also attended different webinars and other meetings for refugee claimants. I also appreciate how I can know and get updates on what is going in our city and around the world. I am also more confident knowing that I have a computer to use for any activity that will require me to have a computer.

I really want to thank all the people who made this possible for me and many others in the same situation. I want to thank the Community Refugee Fund and its partners for thinking of us. I also want to thank United Way for making this project possible. It is by your commitment, your donation, your devotion, and your care that I can feel less alone in a new country, far from my loved ones and from everything I was used to. Big thank you to you all.

– Nicole, program recipient. Funded Partner: Community Refugee Fund for Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus & Mary