Windsor-Essex COVID Care Coalition transfers helpline operations to 211

Media Release
June 17, 2020

Windsor, ONThe Windsor-Essex Food Helpline (WEFH) will be transferring all incoming calls for emergency food assistance to 211 on Wednesday, June 17, 2020.

The helpline was created as a short-term emergency response to the food shortages and food bank closures when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Windsor-Essex County in March.  Call volumes to the helpline, once at a volume of 200 per day have declined in recent weeks to about 30 per day, so United Way and its helpline partner Green Shield Canada are reintegrating the helpline into existing local social services infrastructure.

211 is a longstanding partner of United Way and provides information resources for social services in Windsor and Essex County. Assistance is available in 150 languages, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. United Way and its partners will continue to monitor and respond to community needs as they arise.

The helpline launched in April 2020, and has been generously staffed in-kind by Green Shield Canada, in collaboration with the Windsor-Essex COVID Care Coalition. To date, the helpline has received more than 4,100 calls. Residents have been provided with grocery gift cards, directed to open food banks and food hubs, and those who were self-isolating had food hampers delivered to them. Over 90 volunteers were trained and engaged to help with food hubs and food delivery.

“We are staying true to our role of supporting our community’s most urgent needs and taking care of our most vulnerable residents,” says Lorraine Goddard, CEO, United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County. “The pandemic has show us that kids and families living in low income were disproportionately affected, and we will continue our local work to seek new solutions that will build a more resilient and prosperous community for all.”

The community is now encouraged to call 211 for emergency food supports, however the helpline phone number will remain active. All calls will automatically be forwarded to 211 Information Services.

To learn more about United Way’s COVID-19 response, visit For a listing of open food banks and food hubs, visit the Windsor Essex Food Bank Association at

Coalition partners include:

Amherstburg Community Services, Alzheimer Society Windsor-Essex, Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor Essex County, City of Windsor, Community Support Centre of Essex County, Family Services Windsor Essex, Green Shield Canada, Life After Fifty, New Canadians’ Centre of Excellence, South Essex Community Council, Unemployed Help Centre, United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County, The Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada, Ontario Branch – Windsor-Essex Site, Windsor Essex Children’s Aid Society, Windsor-Essex Community Foundation, Windsor Essex Community Health Centre, Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation, Windsor Essex Compassion Care Community, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, Windsor Family Homes & Community Partnerships, Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association Members, Workforce WindsorEssex


Media Contact:  Angela Kharboutli, Interim Marketing & Communications Manager   |   W: 519-259-6169  |   M : 519-562-7841

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