Community Foundation North Okanagan executive director Leanne Hammond said a collective response amid COVID-19 pandemic is necessary. Int he wake of the pandemic, the organization launched the Better Together - COVID-19 Community Response Fund to help fund charities and frontline providers. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Community Foundation North Okanagan executive director Leanne Hammond said a collective response amid COVID-19 pandemic is necessary. Int he wake of the pandemic, the organization launched the Better Together - COVID-19 Community Response Fund to help fund charities and frontline providers. (Roger Knox/Morning Star)

Community Foundation launches COVID-19 response fund to support charities

Better Together - COVID-19 Community Response Fund issues funds to front-line organizations aiding in pandemic

Community Foundation North Okanagan has launched a grant program to help fund charities delivering front-line support amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Better Together – COVID-19 Community Response Fund is a rapid response fund that collects community donations, big or small, and turns it around back to the organizations that need it most to ensure the most vulnerable residents in the North Okanagan are safe and healthy.

“This is a challenging time for everyone and we know that it has compounded the struggles of some more than others,” Community Foundation’s Leanne Hammond said.

“Low-income families are likely now ‘no income’ families, seniors who have been told to stay home are finding getting groceries and supplies challenging, mental health issues are being exacerbated and food banks are seeing donations and food drop offs drying up.”

Community Foundation issued an emergency grant to the Salvation Army House of Hope Foodbank recently to ensure no one goes hungry.

Social Planning Council executive director Annette Sharkey said the funding from the foundation helped put a Plan B into action.

More emergency grants are expected to be issued by the end of the week.

“A Community Foundation’s purpose is to connect donors who care with causes that matter,” Community Foundation board chairman Herb Wong said. “I can’t imagine a time when the need will be higher than this.”

“While the Foundation is best known for our endowment fund program, we also provide options for donors to make an immediate impact through this new non-endowed rapid response fund.”

The foundation said this new direction won’t “take away from our long-term big picture approach.”

“This is not a time for ‘or’; it is a time for ‘and,’” Hammond said. “Collective response is what is required at a time like this — we encourage anyone who can afford to help or do so — this is a time to stand together — but six feet apart.”

Immediate help is necessary for organizations including food banks, mental health resources, seniors support organizations and any charitable organization that has had to cancel a fundraising event.

To give to the Better Together – COVID-19 Response Fund, visit www.cfno.org and click the donate now button.

For more information, email Leanne@cfno.org or call 250-542-8655.

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