United Way funds meal program for vulnerable seniors

Victoria, BC (May 21, 2020) – Seniors battling isolation due to COVID-19 in the Capital Regional District (CRD) will have increased access to healthy and nutritious meals thanks to United Way funding through the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program.

By identifying a need in the non-profit sector for a food and meal delivery system to serve isolated seniors, United Way is partnering with Beacon Community Services to fund necessary infrastructure that will provide sourcing and distribution services including prepared meals and food hampers in the CRD. This coordinated approach will increase efficiencies and alleviate the pressure that is currently being shouldered by 14 seniors’ service agencies.

Currently, each agency is piecing together food care hampers and meals by connecting and coordinating with local community kitchens, food share networks, local businesses and restaurants. Fifty meals a week (200 per month) are being prepared. The need is far greater.

Funded by the Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program, United Way is providing a $72,500 grant to Beacon Community Services and this will bolster food service to 1,000 meals per week. During the COVID-19 response, the meals will be deeply subsidized and provided on a sliding scale basis for those with the ability to pay.

This grant will establish the first phase of the expanded meal coordination program by helping offset costs for salaries, storage, preparation space and containers. To build and maintain this program over the long term, United Way is actively inviting prospective donors to match its contribution. For those interested in learning more about this valuable service or interested in making a contribution as part of the Local Love in a Global Crisis campaign, visit www.uwgv.ca/covid19

“For many years, United Way has supported a compassionate network of services that respond to seniors in need. The COVID-19 crisis has created an increased demand for social services on an already fragile system,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way. “This funding will allow us to provide help to vulnerable seniors that need it most.”

“While physical distancing is essential to protecting seniors from COVID-19, it risks isolating them from their community. That is why the Government of Canada is proud to work with United Way Canada to help support the needs of seniors during this difficult time. By using local expertise, this funding will help provide support tailored to the unique, local needs of seniors across the country. As we work together to flatten the curve and slow the spread of the virus, the government is supporting Canadians every step of the way,” said the Honorable Deb Schulte, Minister of Seniors.

An additional $112K has been allocated to the CRD through the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Other programs that will benefit include:

  • Alzheimer Society of BC
  • CNIB – Victoria
  • Eldercare Foundation
  • James Bay New Horizons
  • March of Dimes
  • Seniors Serving Seniors
  • The Galiano Club

Greater Victoria has one of the country’s highest proportions of seniors over the age of 65, approximating 18 percent of the population. Many seniors experience extreme loneliness, isolation and malnutrition. With many on limited incomes, their physical, mental and emotional well-being is impacted and this has been compounded by COVID-19.

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About the New Horizons for Seniors Program

The New Horizons for Seniors Program (NHSP) provides grants and contributions for projects that help improve the well-being of seniors and foster their social inclusion. To provide immediate essential services to seniors impacted by COVID-19, the Government of Canada is providing $9 million under the NHSP to be distributed through United Way Centraide Canada network. These funds will help organizations providing support to seniors dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

About United Way Greater Victoria

United Way is a leader, influencer and difference-maker in the lives of people living on Vancouver Island. People can still support the United Way’s Local Love in a Global Crisis campaign at www.uwgv.ca/covid19 as we move into the recovery phase of COVID-19. Last fiscal year United Way raised $4.35 million thanks to over 7,000 donors and over 250 workplaces opening their offices to run employee giving programs. These funds allowed United Way to support over 90,000 people, 63 agencies and over 90 programs.

Media Contact

Heather Skydt
United Way Greater Victoria
Director Marketing and Communications
heather@uwgv.ca
Mobile: 250-686-3606

Deepa Pillay
Beattie Tartan
deepa.pillay@beattiegroup.com
Mobile: 250-619-7110