Knowing the pandemic has impacted the charitable sector across Ontario, Your Neighborhood Credit Union (YNCU) is donating $18K to their neighbours in need. The announcement was made at YNCU’s recent annual general meeting, where leadership noted the organization’s strong performance over the past year and optimism for the year ahead. To determine the recipients of the donation, YNCU engaged employees in an anonymous survey to ensure alignment with the initiative across the organization.
Lacking more support than ever before, 86,000 or 50 per cent of Canadian charities have experienced losses in revenue since the start of the pandemic. Family-centred organizations that offer child support programs, food programs and domestic violence support have been greatly impacted by a drop in funding, with many Ontarians left to suffer the consequences.
“People access emergency food assistance for a variety of reasons, for some it bridges the gap between paychecks for others it is literally a life saver,” said Wendi Campbell, CEO of The Food Bank of Waterloo Region. “As an essential service, our work has been critical throughout the pandemic to ensure people don’t have to choose between buying food or paying rent and instead have access to the supports they need to thrive. The generous donations from Your Neighbourhood Credit Union will help to provide 9,000 meals and ensure no one goes hungry during this pandemic or beyond.”
Ron Sim, General Manager Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen Community Centre, spoke to this contribution noting, “The generous donation that we received from YNCU will really help to cover the increasing cost to provide the bagged lunches, 38,544 served since March 17, 2020.”
Sean Furey, Director of the Food Bank and Major Corps Officer in Sault Ste Marie also stated, “The extra money we received from Community First, a Division of YNCU, will be used to provide fruits and vegetables to families using the Food Bank.”
In each town or city across Ontario serving as a home to a YNCU branch, frontline staff rallied together to select the local charity of their choice, by providing service to their neighbours who have directly felt the impact of the pandemic. To support families in need with the basics such as food, emergency shelter and safety, each branch designated $1K to their selected charity. Organizations included Ontario-based local food banks, soup kitchens, crisis centres and shelters:
● Cambridge Self Help Food Bank
● Canadian Mental Health Association Brant Haldimand Norfolk in Brantford
● Cedarview Church’s food bank program in Paris
● Community Support Connections’ Meals On Wheels program in Breslau
● Domestic Abuse Services Oxford in Woodstock
● Food4Kids in Brantford
● Hope House in Guelph
● KW Urban Harvester, Grow A Row Program (Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group)
● London Food Bank
● Sault Ste. Marie Soup Kitchen Community Centre
● The Food Bank of Waterloo Region
● The Local Community Food Center in Stratford
● The Lord’s Kitchen Society Inc. in Timmins
● The Mitchell Food Bank
● The Salvation Army Sault Ste. Marie’s food bank program
● The Welcome Centre Shelter for Women & Families in Windsor
“The massive generosity towards the London Food Bank has enabled us to do things we never thought possible. We’ve provided over 5,000 lunches a month for the homeless, helping close to 3000 families a month with food hampers. We’ve also transformed the food bank into a mobile operation, moving hampers to nine different locations around the city,” Jane Roy, Co-Executive Director of the London Food Bank. “It has been our year of renaissance, only made possible by gifts like the $1K from YNCU. Thank you for helping us change systems and spread compassion throughout London.”
Eager to support their local communities, teams at individual branches made up the majority of survey respondents. Over 70 per cent of employees noted it is very important that their workplace gives back to the community.
“As an organization it is not only crucial we financially support our community, but that we involve all employees in the community giving process,” says YNCU CEO Gord Harrison. “Each and every one of us have causes we hold near and dear to our hearts depending on our life experience, and it’s important we support those of our workforce.”
Donations have already been made to each local charity selected by YNCU branches.