2020 - A Year of Incredible Support and Hope

December 30, 2020

As 2020 comes to an end, we wanted to take a moment to look back at the incredible impact that YOU helped us make in the community this year. Though 2020 has been a year with many challenges, it has also been a year where we have seen so much compassion, community support, and kindness! 

At the start of the pandemic, our Food & Friends Program pivoted into an initiative called Fresh Food for Kids to provide emergency food support to children and families unable to access our student nutrition programs through schools. This initiative teamed up with local organizations who helped donate and/or provide food at a discounted rate. We rallied up over 75 volunteers to help pack and deliver kits to over 1,000 families per week, for 23 weeks. We continued this initiative through the summer, and then in the new school year, it evolved into Food & Friends at Home. Across these two incredible food support initiatives, we have been able to provide over 168,000 healthy meals to local children and youth!

Our Scholarships Program continued to support students who needed financial support more than ever. With the absence of part-time jobs this summer, post-secondary education felt even more out of reach for many local students. This year we were able to award 21 scholarships to help local student achieve their post-secondary dreams, such as engineering, nursing, social work, and so much more! 

With the cancellation of many recreational activities and day camps this summer, we adjusted our Free to Grow Program provided Free to Grow at Home recreation kits to keep children thinking, creating, and moving while at home. These kits were filled with items such as sports and outdoor items, gardening tools, arts and crafts kits, and so much more! We were able to support all 935 children who applied for a personalized kit - leaving a 0 waitlist! 

For the safety of our staff, volunteers, and all involved in our Adopt-A-Family Program we shifted to a gift card model for 2020. Though Santa's workshop wasn't full of gifts this year, it was still filled with elves working busily to provide local families with the hope and joy of Christmas. We saw an increase in family referrals to the program, and because of the incredible support of the community, we supported 1,434 families including 3,136 children and youth. We received a lot of positive feedback from families through their social workers to let us know that the gift card model was appreciated - in a year where so much has been out of our control, the gift cards gave them a sense of ownership and control over their families gifts.  

We know that the effects of the pandemic are still going to be felt into 2021 - the need will still be there, and many children will continue to rely on our support. We are so grateful that you will be there to help support them, and to help support the Foundation during our next journey! We can't wait to see what we can accomplish together in 2021!