Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 12

Dear Colleagues, 

Despite the COVID19 pandemic, many organizations continue to provide on-going services to children, youth and families across Grey Bruce.  Adapting to social distancing has meant the closure of physical buildings but staff have been reaching out to clients/customers through calls, text and video.  Many of our partners have moved online with virtual gatherings for children, youth and parents. We have listed some COVID19 Children/Youth Supports and Resources below. 

During this COVID19 pandemic, we are seeing an increase in people needing income, food, shelter and mental health support. It is a credit to our strong networks such as the Children’s Alliance, the Poverty Task Force, Healthy Community Partnership Table, GB Integrated Health Coalition and other tables that we are able to quickly coordinate a collective response.  

  • 211 Ontario has released its April 2020 Report on Unmet Needs this week.  The Top 3 Needs are: food access (26%), income support/employment assistance (14%) and health, including mental health & addictions (13%).   
  • Since March 19th, the YMCA Housing has housed 121 households for 784 nights of shelter. 30% have been re-housed. 
  • 256 meals were delivered in 1 week to 2 motels in Grey County in a YMCA partnership between OSHaRE, Habitat and United Way funded by Grey County.   
  • We have seen close to 300% increase in community meals served across Grey Bruce. 


  • #HeretoHelpGB involves many partners supporting children, youth and parents in crisis.  If you or someone you know is in an abusive or vulnerable situation, call 2-1-1, or 1-800-668-6868 @KidsHelpPhone or 9-1-1 in an emergency. 
  • The YMCA is offering Youth Virtual Workshops on Social Distancing group sessions on May 8,11th and 22nd; or individual sessions can be booked. Call/text:519-373-1016 or email: jessica.currie@osgb.ymca.ca  
  • The YMCA Community Services programs – employment, youth housing and justice – have gone online and support services are offered via telephone/virtual meetings.
  • Vpi Working Solutions – employment and youth supports – have gone to online services offered via telephone/virtual meetings. Website vpi‑inc.com. Youth Job Connect stating June 1st. for youth between the ages of 15-29. Call for more details 519-881-4900  
  • Bruce County Children’s Services is piloting the initial phase of its Emergency Childcare Program for hospital staff with the South Grey Bruce Health Centre.   Emergency childcare allows eligible health care and other front-line workers to have the childcare support they need to continue protecting the health and wellbeing of Bruce County residents during this COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • Bruce Grey Child & Family Services has also been working to meet a demand for thermometers for families and has seconded staff to work on the coordination of health & hygiene kits to seniors and children in partnership with the United Way of Bruce Grey.   
  • The United Way of Bruce Grey is managing a Pandemic Fund and funding community food programs, housing & homelessness and transportation services.  They are funding and coordinating the distributions of health & hygiene kits/gift cards to school children via the Grey Bruce Student Nutrition Program.  
  • Keystone continues to provide support digitically or via telephone to existing families and is taking new referrals. Contact at: 519-371-4773. in partnership with Martin Bus Lines and The Rocking Horse is distributing toys to isolated children through a referral system in a Partnership for Kids
  • While the doors are closed at the Owen Sound & North Grey Union Library their Facebook page daily provides online interaction such as Toddler Story Time, Tea & Title book club, and have moved their services online. 
  • The Bruce County Library also provides online resources on their Facebook page and is organizing Youth Trivia Nights and other social interactions. 

COVID19 Children/Youth/Family Resources:

  • The Poverty Task Force has a COVID19 COVID19 Community Resource Page which provides Food, Housing, Income & Employment and Transportation support services, Public Health related guidelines/policies and references for working with vulnerable populations. We send out a 2-3 Community Updates weekly. Please contact Jill Umbach to be added to the mailing list. 
  • OMSSA Today has the latest news, policy updates and resources on the human services sector in Ontario. Their COVID19 Resources Page is updated daily if you join as a member or you subscribe to their newsletter.      

Kids and Us Community Childcare & Family Education has a Parent Resource Page.   

A few resources: 

Stay well, Jill 

Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update #5

Dear Colleagues, 

The Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force/United Way of Bruce Grey has been sending out updates over the last 2 weeks – sharing out Grey Bruce partner updates and resources. Our Community Updates #1-4 have focused on Food Supports, Housing Supports, Youth and Mental Health Supports, etc. Relevant resources and Public Health guidelines are shared as links or posted on our COVID19 Community Resources page. All information in our lists are shared with 211.  Please continue to share your updated COVID 19 services with 211.

There are daily new announcements of layoffs and for many people there is a lot of uncertainty around their jobs and paychecks.   So in this Community Update we have pulled together a list of income & employment supports offered by partners.   



Our incredible Community Food Banks and Meal Programs are continuing to provide incredible support to our communities! 

  • We continue to work with Community Food Banks and Meal Programs to support their operations.We update the Grey Bruce Community Food Program Listregularly. 
  • Many of the Good Food Boxes are closed due to their locations being closed.    
  • GB Public Health has developed Guidelines for Grocery Shopping.  And the Grey Bruce Grocery Store List is updated regularly.  Please note that Easter holidays are coming up and store hours will change. 
  • A Community Voices member is currently creating a Grey Bruce Pet Food List. 
  • Rapid Needs Survey was carried out by the United Way of Bruce Grey with Food Banks/Community Meal programs resulting in requests for a variety of food and non-food items.  
  • The United Way Food Bank fund has started to respond to requests. Initially, purchasing bulk items that can be distributed across multiple organizations.  For example, a bulk purchase of toilet paper was distributed by Habitat of Humanity trucks to Food Banks.  


Partners continue to provide homelessness and housing support in our communities.  

  • A recent Housing meeting hosted by GB Public Health identified challenges and concerns with COVID19 education for people. Identifying clients who are high risk or acute. Concerns were raised around mental health & addiction and women fleeing violence. Social distancing does not work with people who don’t have a place to stay home in. 
  • Bruce and Grey County housing have ramped up their cleaning services and increased social distancing education. 
  • The Housing sector is waiting to hear about Homelessness Prevention funding from the government. 
  • Seniors’ Dental Program is on hold except for emergency services. 
  • We continue to update the Grey Bruce Housing Support List



  • Partnership for Kids is about to be up-and-running. Paul Wiley of Martin’s School Transit has a GoFundMe page to purchase toys from The Rocking Horse and deliver to famlies through the The Scenic City of Good Cheer volunteers. Referrals will be accepted only through social agencies/food banks and sent to Keystone. Public Health has recommended that only new toys go to families and not used donations.

Stay well from the team at Bruce Grey Poverty Task Force/United Way of Bruce Grey