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Windsor-Essex Coalition Calls On Community To Support Emergency Food Action

Friday March 20th, 2020, 2:04pm


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COVID-19 has caused donations to be at a stand-still at local food banks and meant that there are also fewer volunteers to support food banks and meal programs, but a coalition of local service providers is trying to change that and is calling on the community for help.

To meet this immediate need, community leaders across Windsor-Essex have joined forces as the Emergency Food Action Coalition (EFAC) to develop a coordinated response to this local food security issue. The Coalition is looking for community-wide collaboration and financial support to ensure that service providers can purchase food and supplies to support our most vulnerable populations.

Local food providers have suspended their normal operations and are now focusing on how residents can safely access emergency food. Most programs have implemented measures to reduce interactions, maintain social distancing and support frontline staff.

The absence of school nutrition programs will make it harder for children and families to cope. Precarious employment and the closure of many businesses means that the number of people who will require emergency food will increase dramatically in the coming weeks.

Local food banks are weeks, if not days, away from being empty and community support programs are struggling to ensure staff and volunteers are safe and have the means to check in with vulnerable populations. Some food banks have closed due to insufficient staff, volunteers, and food donations.

To address the coming shortfall, EFAC is currently surveying service providers to understand their immediate and short-term needs. The data collected will help EFAC develop its plan to shore up support. EFAC will then create an action plan to address these needs, which may include providing grocery gift cards to people in need, ramping up a county-wide food delivery strategy, developing a mobile network of community helpers who are trained to stay safe, and transportation options for vulnerable populations to ensure they can access the food they need.

To complete the survey, service providers can visit

Despite the measures being enacted by the federal and provincial government, a shortfall in meeting people’s immediate basic needs is expected. Those with the financial means to help can donate through United Way at All donations will go towards helping the local emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will be distributed to the partners providing emergency supports. Alternatively, people can mail or drop off grocery gift cards to the Unemployed Help Centre, which will redistribute the gift cards to people in need.

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