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CCS shares highlights and challenges overcome during the pandemic

January 21, 2021   ·   0 Comments



Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the local community organizations have buckled down to ensure residents of Caledon have been able to receive the care or resources they require. 

Caledon Community Services (CCS) has run into a series of challenges amid the pandemic but have continued to overcome through the help from community members, organizations and local businesses.

CCS’s The Exchange is a community kitchen where local residents can access healthy, fresh food, and information and tools needed to learn basic nutrition and how to prepare meals. 

Their food support program allows residents to receive packed and nutritious meals for individuals and families in need. 

Some of the challenges include higher demand for food, services and supports due to job losses and closures of businesses and schools.

Photos hit social media of bare shelves at the Exchange where the community jumped at the opportunity to lend a helping hand to donate in order to give back to those in need during these difficult times. 

“Corporations, individuals of all ages, schools, community groups, sports teams, whole community food drive initiatives,” said Donna Cragg, Director of Communications and Marketing. “Donations anywhere from 100 pounds to 7,000 pounds was incredible. Some organizations and/or businesses donated more than once.”

Many gift cards were collected alongside food donations, and CCS shares that each and every donation went a long way to alleviate hungers for those in need. As such, their appreciation is immense. 

“CCS would like to thank each and every one of the individuals, community groups and businesses who stepped forward to make a difference,” said Nicole Hand, Chief Development Officer.

Some of the groups who contributed to this include: Access Storage/Bolton Kia/Caledon Hawks Minor Hockey banded together and raised 3,300 lbs of food; Village of Inglewood Holiday Food Drive saw 7000 lbs collected within the community with the help of the Fire Department; Bolton Family Dental Centre Dr. Rosanna Poretta and Inside Out Family Chiropractic; Caledon Ontario Provincial Police (OPP); Albion Bolton Agricultural Society; Caledon Lions and Knights of Columbus; North Peel Community Church; and Claude Presbyterian.

“Corporate support was amazing,” said Hand, adding to the list Silcotech, Rowland Investments, Desjardins Insurance, SRSS, Rameshwar Mandir & Cultural Sabha Inc.  Home Depot, CBG Homes, Vraj Community Services John @ Automotive Maintenance Caledon East, Nobletoyz.

Mono Mills Community, Terra Cotta Community made 4 trips to donate food collected around their community tree.

“Regular donors we couldn’t serve without – Zehr’s Walmart, Foodland, Food Basics and Garden Foods. Allan Drive Middle School Palgrave Public School, Robert F. Hall Secondary School, St. Michaels Hospitality Class, Holy Family Elementary, St. John Paul II online students. Even being online didn’t stop our youth. Fines Ford did pickups from the schools and small business to bring the food to the Exchange which was a huge assist.”

These were only a portion of the many donors. There were hundreds of other donations on top of those listed. 

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, events were doomed to be cancelled in order to keep the community, as well as CCS members, safe from the spread of COVID-19. 

This past holiday season, though annual events such as the Annual Family Days that leads up to Christmas or any in-store shopping or toy drives, staff at CCS were able to organize COVID-19 friendly ways to celebrate the holiday season with the community.

“The solution was to collect gift cards and special Christmas dinner food stuffs and distribute to families prior to Christmas so that they could ensure their family had a chance of some joy over the holidays,” said Cragg. “The community support brought smiles to faces all across Caledon this holiday 2020 despite the struggles.”

Caledon Community Services had several highlights from 2020, even during the difficult times. Going into the New Year, CCS shared some of their highlights from this past year, and some upcoming events to look forward to in 2021.

“Employment and Training gears up to serve increased numbers of Assisted Service Job Seekers of all ages with special programs for youth looking to get an edge starting out in their careers,” shared Cragg. “Seniors supported through innovative wellness check in’s and fun activity packages. What could have been a sad and lonely Hallowe’en was turned into an exciting one.  The wellness check-ins – found a senior in medical distress and were able to intervene with very positive outcomes, getting the individual the help they needed to recover.”

CCS transportation decreased by 90 per cent but other essential services were able to continue with safety adaptions. The levels of monthly support for disadvantaged residents were increased due to CCS. 

New services opened at the Southfields Community Centre that recently opened this past September which shares space with Punjabi Community Health Services (PCHS). 

Additionally, they received support from the Immigration Refugee Citizenship Canada on the expansion of Caledon Community Services’ settlement services and partnership with PCHS.

 CCS also became an Anchor Agency for the United Way of Greater Toronto this past February. 

Lastly, CCS launched an initiative to identify and address Anti-Black racism within the organization called iDream.

Two major events are upcoming from Caledon Community Services including the annual Coldest Night of the Year, which has been turned into a virtual event in order to become COVID-19 safe to raise money for charities helping people coping with homelessness. 

Alongside the Coldest Night of the Year, CCS is preparing for the celebrations of their 50th anniversary in Caledon. 

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