Poverty Task Force/United Way Community Update # 62

Dear Colleagues, 

Temperatures have dropped and there is snow in Markdale! But there are still some warm messages of hope this week. 

  • Butterfly & Bee gardens are being planted around the region as part of the Butterfly Project. The Grey Bruce Community Garden Network Coordinator has even used canoes in Meaford in preparation for Pollinator’s Week.  
  • The Feeding Families, Restaurant Relief campaign continues to grow and provide meals daily that are being shared out across Grey Bruce. 
  • A new memorial monument and education plaque has been installed at Greenwood Cemetery, Owen Sound. In Potter’s Field, at least 1,242 vulnerable people were laid to rest without any visible marker. 
  • These people include hundreds of newborns/stillborn/toddlers, orphans, seniors, the working poor, the homeless and hundreds of members of Owen Sound’s black community including those who escaped on the Underground Railroad and their descendants. May they rest in peace. 

INDIGENOUS PEOPLE SUPPORTS

HOUSING SUPPORTS

  • Giiwe and Indigenous Supportive Housing Support Program held a circle on May 21st. Partners joined together to learn from Elder Richard Assinewai who opened Giiwe with the Teachings of the Seven Grandfathers or aadizookaan which reflects the Nibwaakaawin, “Good Way of Life” or native law. 
  • Giiwe has become a community and personal journey for partners. Grey County and Bruce County have supported it with funds to continue this journey.  Giiwe started with 12 partners and we now have over 100 partners at the table now. 
  • There is a Giiwe Model being built at Queen’s University. We are working with 3 different universities and soon to be a 4th. We have expanded to build bridges with Simcoe County and 2 First Nations. We were able to secure funding for the Indigenous Supportive Housing Program. This program has been critical under the pandemic response.

FOOD SECURITY SUPPORTS

  • Bruce Botanical Food Gardens has hired a new Gardens Manager Liz Miltonburg (gardenmanager@bbfg.org).  They are looking for volunteers to join their Board of Directors. If you are interested, submit a letter of interest to administrator@bbfg.org by June 17, 2021.
  • Correction – the Wiisinadaa/Let’s Eat Program correct email address is wiisinadaa@mwikwedong.com 
  • M’Wikwedong Wellness Garden Kits:  the Indigenous Health and Wellness Strategy Program (IHWS) is offering community garden box kits to enhance home gardens.  Register by calling or texting IHWS Program Coordinator, Tanya Coulter @ 519-372-7898. 
  • Feeding Families – Restaurant Relief: 30 restaurants made over 2,400 meals thanks to local donors who’ve contributed $36,000.  All of the food going to Owen Sound Hunger and Relief Effort is distributed to their clients and shared with other communities. .   
    • 100 meals went to YUM Program, South East Grey Meal (Markdale)  
    • 140 meals to CMHA to use across Grey Bruce
    • 140 meals to Salvation Army in Owen Sound
    • 50 meals to Port Elgin Salvation Army. 
    • 20 meals to Safe n’ Sound. 
    • 20 meals Chesley Baptist Church 
    • 20 meals to M’Wikwedong. 
  • Food security presentation to Southgate Council: Paul Wagenaar, UW Food Security Coordinator, Jill Umbach, Poverty Task Force and Barb Fedy spoke to Southgate Council about food security on May 5th. This was reported in the Toronto Star.  
  • They will present next to Chatsworth Council on June 2nd. 

ADDICTION SUPPORTS 

  • An OPIOID ALERT was released on May 23rd . Please share the alert.   
  • There have been 6 overdoses (non-fatal) in the past 3 days. This includes Owen Sound, Meaford and Kincardine, as well as Saugeen First Nation. There have also been 2 fatal overdoses in the past 2 weeks.   (Note: as of May 23rd).
  • Please alert any clients that use drugs of this high rate of overdoses. 

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORTS

  • Keystone Child, Youth and Family Services: has created a new System Navigator position that will work with emergency departments when children show up while in the middle of a mental health crisis. There has been an increase in numbers of young people being seen in the 11 emergency rooms within our communities. The aim is to assign a child a clinician from Keystone within the first hour of them showing up for help in an ER
  • Mental Health and Addiction Peer Support (MAPS) is open for referrals from Probation and Parole at this time. Services offered: 
    • System navigation/facilitate the connection of support services.
    • Assist in the development of a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)
    • Provide individual and group support.
    • Work with Probation and or Parole Officer to address the client’s needs upon referral.
    • Peer Support around mental health issues
    • Peer Support around substance use issues
    • Support connecting or engaging with basic needs.  
  • If you know of a peer that could benefit from this program, please direct them to speak to their Probation or Parole Officer. 

CHILD/YOUTH SUPPORTS

SAVE THE DATE: Next Poverty Task Force meeting is Friday, June 18th, 10am. 

Stay well, Jill