The impact of the COVID-19 Emergency Fund

In March 2020, Centraide created the COVID-19 Emergency fund to help community agencies implement exceptional measures to assist isolated and vulnerable people hit hard by the health crisis.

The goal was to ensure that people had enough food to eat and a roof over their heads and were physically and mentally safe.


> When solidarity, expertise and agility come together



Donors responded quickly and generously to our call for donations.


In no time flat, agencies assessed the needs of their community and applied for funding.


Centraide set up a streamlined process to evaluate requests and transfer funding to agencies as quickly as possible..


> The Impact

From the first weeks of the lockdown, vulnerable people were given the help they needed.

The $7.2 million invested allowed agencies to provide ongoing support.



A few figures


Although the data below is not exhaustive, it provides a snapshot of what our agencies were able to accomplish in a matter of weeks. Note that not all agencies were able to precisely record everything they did while in crisis mode



A few stories


“The initial goal was to produce 800,000 servings over a two-month period. But given needs, we had to keep up our production. We are now at 1.8 million servings and expect to reach 2 million.”


“We had to get creative to keep listening, supporting and helping people. We were able to purchase a computer and a Zoom license so that our staff could work remotely and stay connected to families.”


“People in a situation of homelessness who didn’t want to leave the neighbourhood for a downtown shelter were given access to food and sleeping bags. We also gave them hygiene products and protective equipment. We continued to offer support, listening and referrals to other services.”


“Requests for meals on wheels and frozen meals have increased. We developed a service to provide friendly phone calls in different languages combined with a psychosocial support service. We launched a food assistance service (with deliveries) along with a free grocery delivery service.”


“Our emergency food aid allowed families in a vulnerable situation to keep getting access to healthy food. This service also helped many of our clients realize that they are not completely isolated or without resources.”


“We launched virtual events starting from the second week of the lockdown. Since then, we have held two virtual meetings per week with anyone who has a computer and Internet access. We have an average of 30 to 40 people at each meeting.”

“We were able to maintain our shelter services despite COVID-19 (capacity: 26 women). We also extended the stays of residents and, despite this, still found ways to admit new women to the shelter.”

“Low-income people received access to a free service to file their taxes. This helped them keep their financial assistance or access new tax credits. Some were even able to apply for the financial aid program for renters.”