Manitoulin Family Resources receives much needed funding from United Way

Manitoulin Secondary School students gathered much needed food for the Food Bank during the We Scare Hunger event.

Funds will mean new infant food bank and women’s shelter positions

MANITOULIN—With appreciation to the United Way Centraide North East Ontario, Manitoulin Family Resources (MFR) will be expanding two of its programs to better meet community needs.

Under the pilot project funding branch introduced by the United Way earlier this year, Manitoulin Family Resources received $9,900 directed towards its Food Bank/Food Security program, as well as $9,200 directed towards its Violence Against Women Prevention. “As this funding was intended to provide new programming, both sectors of MFR are benefitting from improvements that they hope will serve the community well,” said MFR executive director Marnie Hall Brown.

The $9,900 received by the Food Bank program will allow for the addition of an infant food bank access point. The funding has allowed MFR to hire an Infant Food Bank coordinator to work with existing program operations and community service providers to adapt what is already in existence, identify most pressing needs and create a structure that the organization can support in an ongoing way. Julie Rochefort-Wood, a registered dietician with extensive community knowledge, joined MFR this fall in a temporary position to oversee this project. Ms. Rochefort-Wood is currently working with the data the agency has gathered to date to create the framework needed to better support the needs of infants and toddlers through the Food Bank program. This past year the Food Bank provided for 83 children under the age of two and it is anticipated that this number could increase once the agency is better suited to meet the needs of that age group, which makes identifying key objectives and sustainability more crucial. Recognizing that the complex needs of young families with infants and toddlers is greater than the support a food bank can offer as assistance, an additional component of this program will be ensuring that the families are aware of services that they are eligible for and helping make the connections to those service providers.

Manitoulin Secondary School students gathered much needed food for the Food Bank during the We Scare Hunger event.

“Due to the pilot project status, the United Way funding is time-limited, but the outcomes will assist the agency in further developing programs that the agency can continue to support,” Ms. Hall Brown said.

The $9,200 received for the Violence Against Women Prevention program will provide additional staffing hours to address, evaluate and improve service coordination offered to the women and their dependents during their stay at Haven House. In the staffing model that is funded by the ministry, a single staff member is designated at any one time to provide for the needs of all residing within the shelter, as well as addressing the local and provincial crisis lines. Funding to allow for additional staffing hours will allow for additional client time and file reviews to ensure that all possible referrals are being offered to clients, that input for program improvement can be discussed and will also result in a comprehensive local resource directory being developed for shelter staff.

“With the multitude of needs that present through both residential and crisis line clients, an efficient current directory of referral contacts, intake applications, etc. will make day to day operations easier and more efficient,” Ms. Hall Brown explained. “The directory will build upon information being accessed from the United Way 211 system and ensure shelter staff have access in a timely way to support the needs of clients whose lives are very much in transition.”

Both of these pilots are currently underway with MFR, with end dates prior to the end of March 2018.