The Salvation Army in downtown Toronto recognized that its programs and outreach services, particularly in vulnerable neighbourhoods such as Regent Park and Moss Park, would need to be put on hold when the COVID-19 crisis hit.
In the wake of strict government orders implemented to keep communities safe, the food bank that operates as part of the ministries at The Salvation Army Downtown East Community Church and community and family services office remained open as an essential service, continuing to distribute food hampers to those most vulnerable.
To continue providing food security for those affected by poverty and living in crisis, the Army had to first ensure the safety of its staff, volunteers and clients. This meant switching to socially distanced food sorting and non-contact distribution, as well as the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
Thanks to the support of the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, staff purchased PPE and cleaning supplies, allowing The Salvation Army Downtown East Community church to keep its doors open to continue serving groceries for up to 100 families each week. This included the families of children and youth from the after-school programs run throughout the year.
“TELUS Community Boards have shifted their focus on any underserved communities impacted by the current health crisis,” explains Jennifer Kirner, senior manager of community investment at TELUS. “The goal is to help build brighter futures for those who need it most.”
“The generosity from TELUS is allowing The Salvation Army to continue serving the community and make a difference in the lives of many families who access our services,” says Brianne Zelinsky, community engagement co-ordinator at The Salvation Army Downtown East.
The Salvation Army continues to provide essential services across Canada throughout the COVID-19 crisis. To donate, visit SalvationArmy.ca or call 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
Photo taken prior to updated government health orders.