Family and Community Support

Many families in our community are experiencing challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a particularly difficult time for families living in poverty, with precarious housing, physical and/or mental health issues and other challenges. 

It’s important to know that there are resources and supports in our community to help.

Ottawa Human Needs Task Force

This Fact Sheet  created by the City of Ottawa Human Needs Task Force provides key contacts the public may contact for food, isolated and/or vulnerable seniors and people experiencing homelessness, emergency financial assistance, community-based social services, and volunteer coordination. 

Ottawa Child & Youth Initiative (OCYI)

The Ottawa Child and Youth Initiative is a collaborative of more than 80 community organizations and agencies with a shared commitment to children and youth in Ottawa. OCYI's members are working together to make sure the needs of children and youth are met at this time. The OCYI website ( and Twitter account (@growingup_great) is regularly updated as a place to find connections to resources and services.

  • Should you have concerns for the safety and wellbeing of a child or youth, or if you are a caregiver who requires support to keep your children safe, please call the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa at 613-747-7800.
  • If you are a child, youth, family member, or caregiver needing access to your usual resources, please contact the usual organization or agency where you receive help and support. Medical and mental health services are essential services and they are open, adapted for necessary infection control measures. Other services are adapting as information becomes available.
  • If you are a child, youth, family member, or caregiver needing access to new care (related to covid-19 or not), please directly contact the appropriate organization or agency. If you are unsure where to start, you can contact or dial 211. Also check for links to specific resources.

Education Foundation of Ottawa

The Education Foundation of Ottawa (EFO) supports vulnerable students in the OCDSB. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the EFO has donated $25,000 to the Ottawa Network for Education’s Breakfast Program Replacement Kits, which will be distributed to families with children who normally access ONFE’s School Breakfast Program. 

The EFO is also matching donations of up to $20,000 to the Bridges Over Barriers Fund. This fund enables OCDSB school social workers to identify needs and barriers in student’s lives that prevent them from accessing necessary basic necessities, activities, and mental/physical health supports. The goal is to collaborate with students and/or families in order to immediately access these critical supports.

How can I help?

We have received questions from many caring community members wondering how they can help during this difficult time. In response to COVID-19, many charities have been forced to suspend fundraising activities and events, which provide a critical source of revenue for their work. If you are able, financial donations to local charities are one of the best ways to help our neighbours during this difficult time. 

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