SUDBURY -- The United Way Centraide North East Ontario launched this Community Response Fund on March 25, 2020. It focuses on helping charity organizations who are helping provide food security and basic necessities to those in need.

Now, the Local Love in a Global Crisis campaign is helping six charities in the North East Region, giving them funds to help their most vulnerable clients.

"We were surprised with the demand, to be frank," said Mary Lou Hussak from the United Way. "There's so many organizations out there that are doing the support work in areas that we weren't really aware of."

Charities in all six districts were able to apply for this funding.

"We want this money to be very very easy to access. So we're being very flexible with the organizations that are receiving the money as well. As long as they're out there providing food and basic necessities for people who are disproportionately effected by the COVID virus, than we want to be able to be very very fast in responding to them." said Hussak.

Ten organizations applied for the first round of funding with six organizations receiving money on April 8, 2020.

The Gathering Place in North Bay received $3000, which will provide two extra meals per week and expand their food program.

In Timmins, the Mountjoy United Church received $2500 for an initiative that supplies grocery cards to people. The First Baptist Church Community Food Bank received $750 and $3000 went to Centre Passerelle poor femmes du Nord de l'Ontario Women's Shelter.

The Sudbury's Women's Centre got $1000 and Inner City Home has been approved for $2500. 

Jennifer Grooms, from Inner City Home, says it was great to receive this extra help during this unprecedented time when the organization has seen an increase in demand.

"We've seen a really huge increase in seniors that just want to stay home and stay safe," said Grooms.

"There has also been an increase with our folks who are homeless because they don't have anywhere to bring the items that we're giving them. So basically what happens is, usually our homeless are able to couch surf ... where they are able to stay at friends and use their resources like fridges and stuff. But friends aren't as welcoming right now because they're trying to keep their families and homes secure and safe." she added.

The funding is set up as an emergency fund. When charities applied, the United Way tried to give them enough money for one month's worth of support.

Officials say they expect the need is going to continue to grow.

Mary Lou Hussak adds "Our hope is to really stand firm with our communities across North Eastern Ontario and to provide support where it's needed. We will be looking at every application that comes through from the charities."

The United Way is accepting donations through its website so it can continue to help organizations help those in need.


Added attribution for final clip in the story.