Covid-19 has been devastating to lower-income families. Those isolated at home miss out on the resources that get them through each month, such as trips to the food bank, community meals at the local senior’s centre, community organization, or soup kitchen, or access to diapers and formula.
LIFE*SPIN adjusted our programs to meet the needs of our clients through online access, including:
- Food Security – We are starting 2022 with Community Food Boxes for at-risk seniors, for delivery in January and February. We initiated a Community Food Box program at the onset of Covid-19 and in the first year, we were able to serve 4,681 individuals in 1,290 families. including 530 seniors. We also utilized this program to distribute print resources, face masks and hand sanitizers, following Health Canada recalls of products that low-income residents could not afford to replace. The growing bodies of 1,968 children were nourished, and 249 of them signed up for our summer program to grow food at home. We are currently compiling community resource information for pregnant and nursing moms. We will deliver Community Food Boxes and Welcome Baby Hampers to them in March and April.
- Children’s Programs –During Covid summer we launched an online Zoom Classroom for STEM learning activities. This program was also utilized to distribute our Back-to-School Program which, in addition to the usual backpack filled with age-appropriate learning resources, also included hand-crafted face masks and hand sanitizers. This adjustment was carried into 2021 and we anticipate that we will be back in the garden this summer.
- Basic Needs – The Free Store received two transport trucks of new clothing products to distribute to those returning to work, school, worship, or visiting with friends and family, as the restrictions are lifted, with online ordering and curbside pick-up appointments. We have also been able to provide bulk orders to employment support agencies, shelters, group homes, seniors in care, and community drop-in centres.
- Income Tax Clinic – LIFE*SPIN is the only organization in London that provides year-round access to CRA’s Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. We advocated with CRA to make the program available remotely, to continue to serve low-income families and seniors, whose income is detrimentally impacted when taxes are not filed. In 2021, we filed more than 1,000 returns.
- Community Advocate – Throughout the pandemic, LIFE*SPIN has continued to assist low-income Londoners through times of extreme and critical need. Our Social worker completed a wellness check-in with all our clients and provided online and telephone-based individual appointments and online services. Supports programs, outreach, and resources are provided with no-contact, such as the work of our Nursing team, who have delivered 50 Welcome Baby Hampers and 25 extra care packages for our most elderly folk who live alone.
- Access to information resources: We have just completed designing a more user-friendly website, to enable residents to access support resources more easily, and make applications for outreach supports and programs. Access to online resources is complemented with mail-out resources, for those who lack financial resources or the technical savvy to use the internet.
- Christmas Sponsorship – In 2021, we provided food boxes, grocery cards and Christmas presents to more than 1,200 families.