Local non-profit receives grant to offset COVID-19 implications

January 21, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Jessica Laurenza

The Ontario Trillium Foundation recently launched the Resilient Communities Fund to support local, community-based initiatives who have been affected by COVID-19. Last month, MPP Sylvia Jones announced the first round of applicants to receive grants, Caledon Community Services (CCS) being among them.

Monte Laskin, CEO of Caledon Community Services, explains what the $94,60 in grant funding means to his business and how his team has adjusted to the restrictions of the pandemic.

“We will retain a consultant to help our board and senior management work closely with all of our staff and community to develop a 2 year COVID-19 Recovery Strategic Plan, focused on returning all services to their full potential.” In addition to recovery, he plans to acquire another consultant to help develop a digital marketing plan for their two retail stores to help sell donated product even when the stores are closed.

COVID-19 forced the organization to “develop innovative efficiencies that save time and money which we will be maintaining even when we go back to in-person services,” Laskin explains. Virtual services have proved to be an effective way of reaching the community without people having to leave their homes.

The money will aid in digital platform development allowing CCS to fundraise virtually within the community as well as the purchase of IT equipment which will be allocated to staff working remotely.

Although COVID-19 has been helpful in broadening the scope and reach of services, Laskin notes it has come with its challenges.

“CCS is a tight-knit family and it’s hard to lay off members of your team. We’ve worked hard to stay in touch with them and support them…we’re eager to bring them back when we can.”

Some CCS staff are deemed essential workers – those who are going directly into homes or driving seniors around. Not only are these workers at risk of getting sick, they could potentially spread the virus to the vulnerable groups they’re serving.

“We’ve worked very hard to put safety first, no matter what, to ensure our staff on the front lines are safe.”

Moving into 2021, Laskin’s key priority for CCS, no matter the environment, is to “engage Caledon residents, business owners, schools, faith communities and stakeholders to be involved in a variety of CCS initiatives which support youth, seniors and other underserved demographics.”

Laskin wants the community to know that “we are a really welcoming organization and we’re eager to hear from people.” CCS is a community connector, offering services related to health, jobs and life.

“Imagine the thing you’re looking for,” Laskin says. “It will fall under one of those categories.”

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