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New Windsor-Essex Food Helpline provides emergency food assistance to people in need

Windsor, ON – As the impact of COVID-19 in the Windsor-Essex community continues to spread, so does the need for emergency food assistance. To address these immediate needs, the Windsor Essex COVID Care Coalition, in partnership with Green Shield Canada, has set up the Windsor-Essex Food Helpline (WEFH) to help vulnerable people in the community access emergency food support.

The WEFH is a temporary helpline set up to provide safe and responsive support to people who need food assistance, including low-income families, and seniors who are self-isolating or require access to prepared meals. The Helpline, which starts operating today, will provide information on open food bank locations or food hubs offering drive-thru or walk-through pick ups of food and/or grocery gift cards. People can also call the Helpline to request a grocery gift card be mailed to them or request a food hamper or prepared meal be safely delivered to their home.

The helpline will operate Monday to Friday from 8:30 am – 8:30 pm and is available in both English and French. There is also an interpretation service available for other languages. To access the helpline, call (888) 488-1578. Please note the Windsor-Essex Food Helpline will be closed on Good Friday (April 10) and Easter Monday (April 13). Information on the Helpline services being offered can also be accessed at www.weareunited.com/GetHelp.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to place incredible pressure on our social services, community partners are stepping up to help support vulnerable people in the Windsor-Essex community. The WEFH is being supported in-kind by Green Shield Canada, in collaboration with the Coalition. Green Shield Canada is hosting the hotline, as well providing Call Centre staff to manage and respond to incoming calls. The Unemployed Help Centre will be responsible for screening and tracking food program service users that have been referred through the Helpline.

A volunteer effort is also underway to help the Windsor Essex Food Bank Association with food delivery, distributing grocery cards and supporting food banks and meal programs. For example, the Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society is coordinating volunteer drivers to deliver food to vulnerable residents. United Way is leading the recruitment, screening and training of volunteers. Individuals and organizations can volunteer by calling (519) 259-6177 or email [email protected].

Food banks are still in need of food donations. Hours and locations of Essex County food banks can also be found at www.weareunited.com/GetHelp. If you are unable to make a food donation, donate to the COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund at www.weareunited.com/Covid-19.


Charles Rosen, Vice President and Managing Director, HBM+, Green Shield Canada:

“Green Shield Canada is pleased to partner with the Windsor-Essex COVID Care Coalition to establish the Windsor Essex Food Helpline.  We feel that we have an important role to play in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This joint initiative with the Coalition and other supporting agencies will help vulnerable people in our community locate emergency food services and other social supports. We hope our leadership and passion to help people stay safe and healthy at this time of crisis makes a meaningful and positive difference.”

Lorraine Goddard, CEO, United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County:

“Now more than ever, it’s important for us all to work together so that our collective impact is as strong as possible. We are grateful for partners like Green Shield Canada whose leadership and commitment to the community are helping vulnerable people get the help they need right now.”

Maxine Deleersnyder, Assistant CEO, Unemployed Help Centre:

“The Unemployed Help Centre is pleased to support the Windsor-Essex Food Helpline. We continue to work hard to ensure that those who rely on food banks and meal programs get the food they need to feed their families, while taking the necessary precautions to ensure our staff, volunteers and clients remain safe and healthy.”

Coalition partners include Canadian Mental Health Association Windsor Essex County, Windsor-Essex Children’s Aid Society, City of Windsor, Green Shield Canada, ProsperUs, Unemployed Help Centre, The Victorian Order of Nurses for Canada, Ontario Branch – Windsor-Essex Site, United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, South Essex Community Council, and Family Services Windsor Essex, WindsorEssex Community Foundation, Windsor-Essex Food Bank Association members.

Media Contact:  Karen Brady, Acting Vice President, Marketing & Communications,

United Way/Centraide Windsor-Essex County | Windsor Essex COVID Care Coalition Member [email protected]  |  W: 519-259-6192  |  M: 519-564-8554

Facebook Group: Windsor-Essex COVID Care Coalition