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YWCA COVID-19 Emergency Response – Here’s what we made possible together

Published on 10/12/2021 by YWCA Canada

Last year, YWCA Canada launched our COVID-19 Emergency Response to meet the dire needs that local YWCAs were facing at the beginning of the pandemic. Over 200 generous individual donors, corporations and foundations stepped up for women, girls, and gender-diverse people in their communities and across Canada.

Here’s what we made possible together:

We were also able to provide these essential items and services thanks to the generosity of our corporate partners:

  • Laptops, tablets, smartphones and data cards to ensure that participants could receive remote counselling or participate in our programs virtually, thanks to TELUS Friendly Future Foundation.
  • 168 gallons of hand sanitizer and hygiene kits for participants and front-line workers from GlobalMedic and local businesses.
  • 1,000 winter jackets to keep our participants warm provided by Aritzia
  • Over 700 reusable masks to keep our participants safer through the generosity of Vistaprint.
  • 10,000 wellness products to relieve stress for participants provided by Saje Natural Wellness.
  • $330,000 of transportation support for people experiencing gender-based violence to flee violence and receive essential deliveries thanks to Uber Canada.


Supporters of our COVID-19 Emergency Fund did more than give money and supplies, they showed what community care looks like in action. Each and every gift connected people and made communities stronger during this challenging time.

Here are some snapshots of what our community of supporters made possible at some of the YWCAs across Canada.

At YWCA Cambridge

To support women and families struggling to access community services due to lockdowns and school closures, staff made contactless food deliveries to participant homes. Staff also went above and beyond to support families in isolation, in one instance, providing supplies to celebrate a child’s birthday.

“The impact is immeasurable, as it has given us the ability to truly be responsive, maintain connections and provide some relief for our participants and their families. It has provided participants with some sense of normalcy throughout a difficult time.” As one of our participants shared, “It’s the friends you meet on your path that make the journey worthwhile”.  – From YWCA Cambridge Staff

At YWCA Toronto

Funding provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for staff in YWCA Toronto’s front-line shelter and permanent housing programs, helping to protect the health of their participants and team. Each month, YWCA Toronto had to spend about $40,000 on PPE alone, in order to ensure their shelters and housing programs could remain open and safe for community members. The YWCA COVID-19 Emergency Reponse Fund alleviated some of the ongoing costs of this protective equipment and allowed YWCA Toronto to provide a month’s supply of reusable gowns and face shields for 100 front-line staff across their four emergency shelters and four transitional and permanent housing sites.

“At the start of the pandemic, I was sharing a shelter room with two other girls, and I was worried about getting sick. Thankfully, the shelter staff stayed calm and helped us to protect ourselves. When I moved into my own room I felt much safer. I still wanted more independence, so staff supported me to find an affordable apartment, where I am now living with one of my friends from the shelter. Even through the struggles of this pandemic, I’m excited to start the next chapter of my life in Canada.”Beamlak, 19 years old and a former resident at YWCA Toronto’s 1st Stop Woodlawn Shelter

At YMCA-YWCA Vancouver Island, counsellors and social workers provided remote counselling, mental health and other supports for youth and young families. Staff also assisted participants with navigating COVID benefits application and completing  employment applications. The YWCA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund helped YMCA-YWCA Vancouver Island to pivot and adjust critical programming for the continued independence, stability and mental health of youth and young parents.

YWCA Canada is so grateful to for the community of supporters who made this fund possible. Thank you to the TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, Uber Canada, Jenny Bird, VistaPrint, Aritzia, Global Medic, Saje Wellness, The Ben Sawatzky Foundation, MacMurray Foundation Inc and every individual donor who chose to stand with women, children and gender-diverse people during this difficult time. Simply put, your support has, quite literally, saved lives.

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