REDEFINING THE FRONT LINES: PART 2 – THE COMMUNITY BUILDER
Our Civic Life Team has been working hard on a campaign called “Redefining the Front Lines”. We’ve interviewed people who are employed in and out of the medical field, working hard to ensure we’re safe and our basic needs are met. Their stories are an important part of our city’s efforts in COVID response and relief. We are so grateful to our interviewees for sharing their stories.
Soccer Without Boundaries
What was your organization’s role in the community prior to COVID-19?
Prior to COVID-19, Soccer Without Boundaries worked in the community, providing after-school, weekend programming, summer camp and youth mentorship for children and youth, as well as a new women’s program, for low-income families, many of whom are immigrants or refugees.
How has your organization’s role changed after COVID-19?
With the pandemic, we have shut down our regular programs and have shifted to food security issues. We are building food hampers everyday and delivering them to low-income households, many in high-density housing, in hope that this will allow people to self-isolate.
What has been the biggest challenge in responding to COVID-19?
The biggest challenge, other than financial, is simply buying the food to feed the community. Stores have, understandably, put limits on items in order to prevent panic buying, but that is a challenge for our organization when we are feeding upward of 100 families each week.
Do you feel you’ve received enough support from the various levels of government and local community to aide your response?
We have received different levels of funding from our municipal, provincial, and federal governments as well as from the community. Private donors, small businesses, foundations, and other non-profits have shown their support through both financial and in-kind donations.
How has COVID-19 impacted your personal life? (e.g., Do you live away from your family? Has your routine or contact changed with them?)
We are all maintaining a larger distance from our immediate families because, despite living in the same house, we know we are out in the community and need to practice physical distancing at home too.
What do you think the nature of your work in community sport/service will look like once COVID-19 has passed?
We are really seeing the value of what we are doing at the present. Food insecurity is not an issue isolated to the current pandemic. Many of our families struggle to put food on the table during healthy times. We intend to continue our Food Hamper Program after the pandemic.