The United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) announced the distribution of a first wave of funding, in the amount of $1,071,137, to assist the most vulnerable residents in our community.

Among the organizations receiving funding are La Maison Interlude, Prescott-Russell Community Services, several food banks, Prescott-Russell Victim Services, the Canadian Mental Health Association, residential shelters, Valoris, non-profit housing corporations, and charitable organizations that provide food security assistance.

The recipients of a total of $375,172.76 are as follows:

Canadian Mental Health Association: $18,645

Centre de santé communautaire de l’Estrie: $10,000

Centre Moi J’apprends: $38,000

Deaf Blind Ontario Foundation: $2,700

Groupe Action E.F.C de P & R: $3,299

Hawkesbury Rotary Club: $65,000

Kin Club of Russell: $5,000

Le 211 Service: $2,600

Prescott and Russell Victim Services: $8,000

Prescott and Russell Community Services: $37,500

Hawkesbury Food Bank: $28,463

L’Orignal Food Bank: $1,391.52

Centre Chrétien Viens et Vois: $8,855.15

Good Neighbours Food Bank (Embrun): $15,812.78

Vankleek Hill Food Bank: $3,605.31

United Way Prescott-Russell (East Ontario): $75,000

The above recipients applied for funds and received the amount of funding that was requested in their applications. A few applications were turned down because they did not meet the criteria established by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs for this initiative. One application was a duplication in that it requested funds for the same purpose as another applicant.

The UCPR Social Services have also set aside temporary accommodation spaces to allow people affected by COVID-19 to isolate themselves and prevent the spread.

“In partnership with United Way East Ontario, the UCPR Social Services Department consulted with various agencies to target those supporting the most vulnerable people in our communities,” explained Sylvie Millette, Director of Social Services with the UCPR. “This Social Needs Table, composed of several community organizations, met virtually to disseminate this information.”

The distribution of funds, by category, is as follows:

  • Emergency Shelter Solutions: $214,917 for the use of motel rooms to provide shelter for those in crisis and who need to self-isolate to prevent the spread of COVID-19;
  • Housing with Related Supports: $360,000 for community housing (non-profits), Residential Services Homes and transitional housing with supports;
  • Services and Supports: $459,000 for protective equipment, food and supplies by food banks and other similar agencies, transportation costs, community outreach to support seniors in self-isolation, etc.;
  • Homeless Prevention: a reserve is in place for rent bank and emergency energy funds.

As one of the recipients of the largest amount of funds, the Hawkesbury Rotary Club says it applied for funds to continue to pay for delivery of meals to those who are vulnerable and to seniors who are isolated during this time.

According to Kevin Barron, long-time member of the Hawkesbury Rotary Club, a $3,500 donation from the Rotary District, $4,000 from the Hawkesbury Rotary Club and donations from the public added up to $19,780 in recent weeks in order to keep meals flowing to those in need. The meals, prepared by A Catered Affair, are delivered to area residents and Barron said the club is open to helping everyone at this time.

Barron says that donations of $250, $500 and more kept coming.

But when the opportunity arose, he applied for the extra funds, in consideration of delivering seven meals per week to about 280 people as the pandemic continues. Pointing out that senior citizens are usually delivering Meals on Wheels, a few Rotarians stepped in to take over these deliveries in recent weeks.

“The club also bought $1,000 in Tim Hortons gift cards and we gave those to first responders, we have delivered food to workers at a day care in Casselman and we are doing what we can,” Barron said, adding that he is on deliveries tomorrow evening. In some cases, the club is working at delivering several meals at a time, if they can be prepared and frozen. To support that, the club has purchased several freezers to make the process run more smoothly.

The food delivery service started with one single donation to A Catered Affair at the beginning of the pandemic and it has taken off from there. But the Hawkesbury Rotary Club says it continues to help those in need. If you are in need of a meal delivery, you can call Suzanne at 613-677-4722, Barron says.

“The COVID-19 crisis has required a new approach to delivering our services, particularly for our most vulnerable residents, and this allocation from the Province has been vital to support the critical work of our Social Services staff and our community partners in responding to the needs of at-risk community members during COVID-19,” stated UCPR Warden Pierre Leroux.

“The health and well-being of the entire Prescott and Russell community remains our top priority. We appreciate the province’s partnership in ensuring supports are place to protect our vulnerable residents during this unprecedented period,” added Warden Leroux.

In late March, the provincial government announced a $200-million Social Services Relief Fund in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. The purpose of this fund is to assist Service Managers and their partners to respond to increased demands for services and supports. The investment allows communities to expand a wide range of services and supports for vulnerable populations, based on local need, so they can better respond to this emergency.