Dufferin Community Foundation grants $13,000 in funding to local charities

·4 min read

Dufferin Community Foundation (DCF) has provided four local organizations, who are helping the community’s most vulnerable residents, with funding through their Dufferin Emergency Support Fund (DESF) grant.

The funds from the grant, which totalled $13,000, were given to charities supporting mental health or housing programs in the community. Recipients of the grants are Choices Youth Shelter, Dufferin Child and Family Services (DCAFS), Aging Well in Caledon Dufferin, and Dufferin Community Living.

“Although we’re seeing Dufferin begin to blossom again after two years of pandemic stresses, the charities in our community are still acutely aware that there are deeply rooted issues. At the top of the list, mental health and homelessness – often hidden for our view,” said MaryAnn Lowry, Chair of Dufferin Community Foundation’s Grants Committee.

Choices Youth Shelter will be using their grant of $3,000 to send four full-time youth workers (half of the permanent staff) to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Concurrent Disorder Core training this fall. The training, which they will share with their co-workers, will allow staff to help youth at the shelter with all-around care while the shelter faces waitlists and a lack of crisis beds to provide immediate mental health and addictions support for youth.

“This funding will give our frontline staff access to vital education and training to support youth with concurrent disorders. We are deeply grateful for this grant, which will further develop our professional skills,” said Erin Goodyear, the new executive director at Choices. “We know it will have a positive impact on intervention and will support our community’s safety and well-being.”

DCAFS will be applying their $5,000 grant toward their pilot project – Mental Health Walk-in Intern Program. As a result of the pandemic, DCAFS has seen a higher degree of people feeling overwhelmed and experiencing anxiety about health, finances, education and other basic needs. The pilot program looks to increase walk-in appointments by 12 hours per week and provide grounding item to clients. The information gained through the pilot period will help DCAFS expand the program

“This DESF Grant will greatly assist us to expand our mental health walk-in clinic and provide some great anxiety reducing and grounding tools that youth can leave their sessions with,” said Jennifer Moore, executive director of DCAFS. “We know the need for mental health supports has increased through the pandemic and we are truly grateful to have this opportunity to be even more responsive to the needs in our community.”

CAMH Peel Dufferin’s grant of $3,000 was allocated to Aging Well in Caledon Dufferin (AWICD), and allowed for the group to be present at community events and meet older adults who may be at risk. AWICD, is a collaboration of 29 organizations serving older adults, focused on their social, mental, physical and emotional health.

“Our members will be setting up at various venues like farmers’ markets, fairs and community events to raise awareness, reduce stigma, and encourage older adults to remain connected,” said Jennifer McCallum, AWICD member and manager of TeleCheck. “Research has shown that a healthy lifestyle can prevent the onset or worsening of physical and mental health conditions. With this in mind, we will be engaging with older adults and the community-at-large to promote resources and tools to help maintain an independent and healthy lifestyle.”

Dufferin Community Living, has received $2,000 for their ‘Light at the End of the Tunnel’ (LET) Project. The demand for staff to help people with intellectual disabilities such as doing their shopping and banking has risen from an average of 2-3 hours per week to 5-8 hours per week. Funding to the LET Project will increase health and wellness visits by 20 per cent and offer clients interest-free and forgivable loans to pay for food and housing.

“We are very grateful to Dufferin Community Foundation for the emergency grant. These additional monies will be very instrumental in assisting people living in our community during these difficult times when their employment is being interrupted by COVID, and when costs for food, housing and bills are also skyrocketing,” said Robert Bingham, executive director, Community Living Dufferin.

The Dufferin Emergency Support Fund (DESF) was created in 2021 by Dufferin Community Foundation as a way to provide extra support during emergency periods such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants were made possible with generous donations from Enbridge Gas and the community.

Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press