By Gary Crawford I hope you have all been keeping safe and healthy. Many of us couldn’t have anticipated the impact this pandemic would have upon our daily lives, but here we are – just over a month and a half later – settling into what has become the new normal.
As we navigate this uncharted territory, it is imperative that we continue to abide by the guidelines set out by the medical officers at each respective level of government. Together we can overcome this challenge, but only if we make a concerted effort to reduce the spread of the virus. I understand that many of you have had to make personal sacrifices, but the sooner we curb its spread, the sooner we can return to our normal lives.
Over the course of this period, it is important that we practice activities to promote physical and mental wellness. Whether you have always wanted to try yoga, or possess a hidden desire to learn a musical instrument, consider using this time as an opportunity for personal growth and development. I realize that some activities have become more difficult, due to social/physical distancing measures, but I encourage you to make an effort to partake in an activity which offers you some extent of self-fulfillment.
Of course, not everyone is in a position to focus entirely on using this time for personal growth and development. For some, the ongoing pandemic has only magnified the demands of everyday life. As a result, the City has collaborated with various agencies to provide some means of assistance. One such example is the City’s partnership with 211 to create a centralized resource for supportive information pertaining to COVID-19, including information on available health and social services. To access this resource, please visit https://covid19.211central.ca/ or call 2-1-1, where an operator will gladly assist you.
The City has also partnered with agencies such as United Way Greater Toronto, Second Harvest, Daily Bread Food Bank, North York Harvest Food Bank, the Red Cross and Salvation Army to establish a food access strategy. The purpose of the strategy is to determine how to ensure accessibility to food in the geographic areas of greatest need, as well as to provide existing food banks with the necessary support to continue operating.
One of the resultant initiatives of this strategy has been the transformation of several Toronto Public Library locations into temporary food bank access points. A number of locations have opened up across the City, with Taylor Memorial Library serving as the respective location for our ward. If you are able and willing to support this initiative, please consider donating non-perishable food items to your nearest fire station. The City has also collaborated with the Red Cross to coordinate food hamper delivery services for seniors. This service is available to qualifying seniors who are not currently receiving such assistance from another community food program. To inquire about this service, please contact the Red Cross at 1-833-204-9952.
In regard to general city services, please be advised that several departments have been suspended to allow the redeployment of staff to areas in need of additional support. I empathize with the frustration and inconvenience this may cause to some of you, but we have been required to make such alterations in service to address the ongoing pandemic. This truly has been an unprecedented challenge, so in many instances the City has been required to take unprecedented action.
To conclude, I’d like to thank you all for your patience and cooperation through this period. I’d also like to extend a special thanks to all the frontline workers out there who have demonstrated a great deal of selflessness. It is through their sacrifice that we have been able to retain some semblance of our ordinary lives.
The past month and a half has certainly been a difficult time, but through this adversity we have seen many instances of kindness and compassion in our great community. From accounts of neighbours going out of their way to support one another to stories of people finding creative ways to stay in touch with loved ones, it is wonderful to consider how much we have been able to come together. In hearing such stories, I am reminded how fortunate I am to represent such resilient people.
As always, if you have any comments or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact my office, either by telephone at 416-396-7703 or email at email@example.com.