As the COVID-19 crisis progresses, we continue to hear inspiring stories about community mobilization, emergency responses, and community foundations creating innovative solutions.

Across Canada, community foundations have confronted the pandemic with a willingness to provide help and support for those in need. This crisis has shown us the power of an engaged community, and the diverse emergency responses from community foundations have proved the importance of grassroots initiatives in local regions and municipalities.

The following is part of an ongoing series that spotlights the emergency response efforts of local community foundations across Canada. In addition to these features, we have also compiled a map sharing the mobilization efforts from community foundations across the country. 

In the middle of March, to protect residents from COVID-19, Prince Edward Island closed all of its long-term care facilities to visitors. While this reduced the risk of potential infection, residents were affected by the lack of visits, experiencing loneliness and feeling disconnected.

Kent Hudson, Executive Director of CFPEI, shared that shortly after the start of the physical distancing protocol, a provincial government employee reached out to CFPEI and suggested funding a program that would provide tablets for seniors in long-term care facilities, allowing folks to stay in touch with their loved ones. Following that conversation, the Tablets for Seniors Fund was born with a goal to provide 100 tablets to care facilities. 

To make this vision a reality, “everyone just jumped in,” said Hudson. 

Moving from brainstorm to tablet delivery was a team effort. The provincial government kickstarted the fund with $10,000. Fundraising brought another $15,000. When it came time to buy the tablets, prices had skyrocketed due to massive demand, so a local company, Combat Computers, explored their supply chain contacts and secured a supplier who could ship 100 tablets. Local credit unions offered to deliver them, and staff at the care facilities helped train users on how to operate the tablets. To date, 50 tablets are in the hands of local seniors and another 50 are on their way, covering the whole island. 

CFPEI is working to build on that community spirit and in addition to Tablets for Seniors, the foundation is hosting Stay-At-Home Gala, a free of charge, online gala – all from the comfort of one’s home. Attendees are encouraged to order takeout as a way to support local restaurants in these challenging times.