Now more than ever, Canadians must come together in solidarity to support one another. Many organizations are finding creative ways to do just that.
The list below features some of the remarkable initiatives launched by organizations to help Canadians get through this extraordinary period. This page will be updated regularly.
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- Health Care
During these chaotic times, finding reliable and trustworthy information can be a challenge. Organizations like Red Cross Canada provide, update and maintain the latest, most accurate information. Visit www.redcross.ca.
Communities around the world are affected by this global crisis. CARE Canada is sending essential supplies and providing water to our most vulnerable neighbours, including girls, women and refugees.
These unprecedented challenges are hitting some Canadians more than others. The Canadian Association for Community Living is doing what it can to support people with disabilities and keep them informed.
The Perley Rideau Veterans Health Centre puts the health and safety of its residents above all else. Even in trying times like these, staff continue to tirelessly serve with a smile.
YMCA has launched YThrive to provide Canadians with daily activities and fun ideas to stay active at home.
Looking for something to do? Historica Canada has you covered with thousands of articles, dozens of quizzes and nearly 70 historical timelines.
Closed doors do not have to mean withholding knowledge. During this trying chapter in our lives, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is offering virtual tours to provide guests with an opportunity to learn about Canada's rich history.
There is no better time to learn than right now! Canadian Parents for French is making it easy to find tools to help you and your family learn and practice French while at home.
Isolation does not have to mean inactivity. Organizations like Excellence Canada provide opportunities to gain professional qualifications and maximize time at home.
Canada's National Arts Centre has launched #CanadaPerforms, a $600,000 short-term relief fund that pays Canadian artists for their online performances. Visit https://nac-cna.ca/en/canadaperforms/apply.
Staying busy during these uncertain times can be difficult. Thankfully, the Association des Scouts du Canada is offering virtual activities and games to Scouts around the world to help them stay connected.
(Post available in French only)
Navigating these challenging times can be complicated, especially with kids. STEM Camp provides parents with contests, activities and resources to keep the little ones (and not-so-little-ones) busy.
The Royal Conservatory is hosting weekly virtual concerts from Koerner Hall to share the magic and importance of music.
Scouts Canada is encouraging members to continue with their scouting activities at home by organizing interactive online contests and finding creative ways to help out.
The National Theatre School of Canada and various artists are offering a number of creative initiatives to keep you occupied including a virtual festival.
The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, with the help from their robotic telescope, is opening a window to space by hosting virtual star parties to discuss galaxies, nebulae and everything in between.
The Glenn Gould Foundation reminds us that the universal language of music is essential, now more than ever, by offering streams of past concerts and events.
Canadians are experts in finding solutions and adapting. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is doing just that by developing crucial mentoring relationships through virtual means.
Mothers Matter is supporting its community by getting supplies to families and taking their regular home visits virtual.
While staying home is the best way to do your part, Volunteer Canada is coming up with creative ideas to help you do more virtually.
Meals on Wheels continues to deliver meals to those in need while abiding by social distancing guidelines. A shining example of Canadians helping Canadians.
Article: Comfort food in the time of COVID-19 – how Meals on Wheels has adapted
They say there’s no time like the present, and that is certainly true for the small but dedicated team of volunteers and staff of Meals on Wheels Ottawa, led by Jill Daigle, Acting Executive Director.
“I’ve been here for 11 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Daigle says of the six weeks since the COVID-19 crisis hit in mid-March, forcing the organization to significantly change the way it provides both hearty meals and friendly visits to thousands of seniors and adults with disabilities in the city.
One of the most pressing challenges was finding a way to safely deliver meals while observing strict physical distancing guidelines.
“We’ve tried to make our delivery as contactless as possible. This can be challenging when there are mobility issues in our community, but we’ve created a process and we’re making it work,” Daigle explains. “We’ve even made a pictogram that clearly explains the delivery steps to drivers and clients.”
Another major change involved cutting the number of hot meals brought to homes on a daily basis. “We’ve had to reduce the number of daily hot meals as much as possible in order to reduce the number of times we’re going to a particular home,” Daigle explains. Instead, drivers are making less frequent but more abundant deliveries of equally nutritious frozen meals—including client favourites like chicken à la king, tourtière-style meat pie, and fish Florentine—to their clients’ homes.
Requests for this service are on the rise. In February, before the crisis, volunteers delivered approximately 2 500 frozen meals; in April, that number shot up to 7 500. Unsurprisingly, the jump in frozen meals has led to a requirement for more freezer space, with Meals on Wheels renting two large—and pricey—freezer units for storage.
The organization also has to keep the safety of its volunteers in mind, many of whom are at greater risk of contracting the illness.
“A large percentage of our volunteers are over 65, so we’ve encouraged them to step back from deliveries at this time,” Daigle says. The resulting 80-per-cent drop in the volunteer base has been compensated for by a remarkable number of new people stepping forward to help.
“The community support has been heartening,” Daigle says, noting in particular the 170 volunteer applications Meals on Wheels has received in the past two weeks. “I feel very hopeful there are some silver linings to this tough time we’re all going through.”
Overall, Daigle estimates demand for meals is up by 20 per cent since the outbreak. But equally important is the heightened need for social support and reassurance in a challenging time. It’s a need Meals on Wheels volunteers are striving to meet through countless daily phone calls.
“Our clients really miss the volunteers, but every client gets a phone call every day, asking them the screening questions for COVID-19,” she explains. Apart from being important for health reasons, “I often hear volunteers talking with clients on the phone, just having a chat.”“It’s an integral part of my life,” says one client, Gerald, a veteran of the Second World War in his 90s who has been getting meal deliveries since 2017. “It’s a necessity for me and I’m very pleased with Meals on Wheels. Also, their gravy is exceptional!”
The Royal Canadian Legion understands difficult times. When the going gets tough, the legion is there to provide services to veterans and their families.
Social isolation weighs heavy on the mind. Outward Bound Canada reminds us of the importance of the great outdoors and how we can all continue to do our part, even when we’re stuck inside.
Philately: the collection and study of postage and imprinted stamps. The Royal Philatelic Society of Canada is taking the hobby online.