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Charitable organizations impacted by coronavirus pandemic say ‘this is the time to give back’

With the holiday season just around the corner, many non-profit agencies are finding the demand for their services is even greater this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a wrench into donations, forcing agencies to change their approach.

Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox and Addington’s annual Tree of Hope campaign will not be collecting toys this year. Instead, it’s asking for monetary donations, which will be used to purchase gift cards for recipients across the region.

“The kids we serve were probably hit harder than most but I think a lot of people in our community are really suffering because of the pandemic,” says manager John Stuart.

The campaign goal this year is $60,000, as the demand for services has increased. Those who want to donate to the campaign can do so on the organization’s website.

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“We’re launching our tree of hope on Nov. 12 and we’re asking people to send us messages of hope. I think one thing that everyone needs is a little bit of hope right now,” says Stuart.

Read more: ‘It’s critical’ — More than 200 charities call on feds for funding amid COVID-19

The United Way Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington says it is also relying on the community’s support this year.

“We really need new hats, mitts, gloves, socks, and also need gently used boots and shoes and will continue to need jackets and coats,” says Bhavana Varma, the president and CEO.

In order to help everyone stay warm, the United Way has managed to collect 500 coats, which it has already started distributing through other agencies.

“A lot of community work is going into this, but definitely the need is high.”

On Dec. 7, the United Way KFLA plans to use the Leon’s Centre as a drop-off centre for all donated items.

Varma encourages people to also donate non-perishable food items, winter clothing and personal hygiene products.

Read more: Charities struggling to survive amid coronavirus, say federal support needed

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