As of March 24, 2020 the Government of Ontario has ordered the shutdown of all “non-essential” services. Services that are deemed essential include:
“Businesses and all other organizations that support the provision of food, shelter, safety or protection, and/or social services and other necessities of life to economically disadvantaged and other vulnerable individuals, including but not limited to food banks, violence against women emergency shelters, homeless shelters, community housing, supportive housing, children’s aid societies, residential services for adults with developmental disabilities and for children, and custody and detention programs for young persons in conflict with the law.”
Many of our parishes have programs that “support the provision of food, shelter… and other necessities of life to economically disadvantaged and other vulnerable individuals.” In the vast majority of cases these programs are delivered by volunteers. To the extent that these programs can be adapted to continue with protective measures to reduce the risk of contagion, and have adequate resources and volunteers, we encourage parishes to continue to offer these essential services. Please connect with your local public health department for direction on protective measures.
The Diocese is also working on connecting clergy and volunteers from parishes offering essential outreach services in order to share resources about screening volunteers, engaging new volunteers and connecting with food resources. Please contact Angie Hocking (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Elin Goulden (email@example.com) if you have further questions, or to join this network.