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United Way NWT has seen huge demand across the territory for funding for seniors-related programs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last month, the organization asked for creative projects from any organization that can assist seniors in their day-to-day lives during the pandemic as they are among the most vulnerable population.

The Government of Canada’s requirement is to have money in the hands of eligible organizations on May 15 to be eligible for federal funding.

RELATED COVERAGE: NWT United Way seeks ‘creative’ project ideas for $75,000 in seniors funding

The full list of recipients is expected to be announced by the end of this week.

The response from applicants in the NWT was overwhelming, according to Meghan Kennedy, chair of the United Way NWT’s Covid-19 sub-committee. She said last week that the organization saw a demand of 250 per cent of the maximum amount — $75,000 — to be handed out to NWT groups. This accounts for $219,500 of total monetary requests from close to 30 separate communities, Kennedy said.

Each community or organization could submit an application of $5,000 per community.

“It was an incredible, incredible turnout for sure,” she said. “What it really shows us is that there’s a huge need for it, but also that there are many organizations or communities or Indigenous groups that are really in a position to look out for their Elders and their seniors in the community.”

Kennedy said the applications are supportive of basic needs for seniors, things such as food hampers, cleaning supplies and other essentials.

Most of the projects are able to be changed in scale so there is some flexibility as it comes to how much each project will get, she noted.

“I think we are in a good position because there are a number of projects, if not all of the projects, are scalable,” she said. “So there were no projects that weren’t going to happen if we couldn’t fund the full $5,000.”

She said the United Way is looking at ways to ensure every community gets as much money as it needs so that may mean raising more money or seeing if projects can be eligible for its other campaign, Together We Are Strong, which is run in partnership with the Yellowknife Community Foundation.

Together We Are Strong

The Together We Are Strong campaign is raising funds for community groups helping vulnerable people impacted by the pandemic. The Yellowknife Community Foundation has pledged to match donations raised by the United Way up to $50,000 and it’s taking place between April 16 and May 15.

RELATED COVERAGE: New federal fund aimed at community groups like United Way

“So this is an awesome opportunity for two great community groups to join forces and support our community but also for the community to get involved if they’re not sure where to support,” Kennedy said, noting that every dollar will see two dollars spent in the community.

All of the donations are going through the two organizations’ Canada Helps page. The deadline is May 15.

Money is then expected to be rolled out to eligible organizations, Kennedy said.

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Simon Whitehouse

Simon Whitehouse came to Yellowknife to work with Northern News Services in 2011. He came from Prince Edward County, Ont., and obtained his journalism education at Algonquin College and the University...

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