Dozens of Peel agencies will be better able to serve thousands of Mississauga and Brampton residents in desperate need thanks to the latest infusion of pandemic relief money from United Way Greater Toronto.
United Way’s COVID Relief Grants program, launched earlier this summer to help meet ongoing emergency needs as the GTA and the rest of Ontario recover and reopen following more than a year of closures and isolation, is delivering $1.2 million to some 126 agencies in Peel, Toronto and York. The cash will help with food, homelessness, mental health, children and youth, and culturally specific programs.
The money, announced this morning, will allow agencies to quickly provide services for vulnerable groups facing the greatest barriers, United Way officials say. The duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll on communities across Peel and beyond, particularly on those already facing poverty and from equity-seeking groups.
In all, the COVID Relief Grants support 280 agencies across the United Way Greater Toronto network.
Peel agencies supported by United Way include food banks, Victim Services of Peel, Community Living Mississauga, Brampton Community Living, Caledon Community Living, Canadian Mental Health Association Peel, Our Place Peel, Safe City Mississauga, Newcomer Centre of Peel, Family Services of Peel, Associated Youth Services of Peel, Big Brothers Big Sisters Peel, Boys and Girls Clubs of Peel, Dixie Bloor Neighbourhood Centre and Malton Neighbourhood Services.
United Way officials say the cash infusion will help right away.
“While some of us are beginning to transition back to the life we knew before, far too many continue to feel the devastating impact of COVID-19, and will continue to for some time,” said Daniele Zanotti, president and CEO of United Way Greater Toronto. “Every day, we hear from residents and our network of frontline agencies about crisis calls for mental health supports, access to food and a good job. These grants allocated resources to the people and place who need it most. And now.”
Sukaina Dada, executive director of SMILE Canada Support Services, which serves vulnerable populations including racialized, refugee, low-income and marginalized children and youth with disabilities, has seen firsthand the devastating impact the pandemic has had on young people with disabilities.
“Their needs are often unique and not easily met elsewhere,” said Dada. “But this grant will allow us to provide families who are struggling financially with those essential goods and services that are so critical to their health, development and well-being.”
The latest grants are in addition to the $31 million from the federal government and other United Way Greater Toronto initiatives that has already been directed to some 800 COVID-specific emergency programs since the start of the pandemic.
For a full list of COVID Relief Grants recipients, visit unitedwaygt.org.