April 10, 2020 update – The process of taking in – let alone acting upon – the ongoing onslaught of COVID-19-related information can feel overwhelming. This guide was initially written to support County parents, but I’ve realized the wider Prince Edward County community would also benefit from such a resource. So here is an expanded version, with specific info for families with kids throughout!
My hope is that this guide will be a permanent home for local and other resources and tips for navigating this unprecedented moment in time. If I’ve missed anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information and non-financial support
- Read up-to-date COVID-19-related information posted by Prince Edward County (also – the COVID-19 section for businesses on the municipality’s new Have Your Say portal), Hastings & Prince Edward Public Health, the Ontario government, the Canadian government, and the World Health Organization
- PEC residents can call The County’s COVID-19 Help Line from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. M-F – 1-833-676-2148 – for assistance and info on, for example, volunteer grocery delivery services and the County Food Depot, a new food security initiative using contactless pickup led by The County and the Food Collective
- Wellington area residents can seek support through the Wellington Help Line via email – email@example.com – or phone – 613-399-3708
- The Caremongering PEC Facebook group connects “those who are in isolation and need help with those who are able to help”
- The PEC Welcomes QHC Workers Facebook group connects accommodation providers with frontline health workers in need of accommodation for isolation purposes
- Addictions and Mental Health Services Hastings Prince Edward has set up a pandemic helpline – 613-967-4737 – for those experiencing difficulties coping with mental health or substance abuse as a result of the effects of the pandemic
- Connect with local community resources (see this list for those relevant to parents with kids), many of whom continue to work virtually, or call or chat with 211 Ontario for info on how to access government and community-based services during the pandemic
- Comprehensive document on how to navigate applying for COVID-19 government support (warning – it’s lengthy!)
- Application form for the Social Services Relief Fund, open to “individuals in financial crisis with no access to other supports” and those “currently on social assistance requiring additional resources’
- Food for Learning is offering food vouchers to school-age children who rely on school breakfast, lunch or snacks programs, and therefore will face hardships while school is out; contact firstname.lastname@example.org at the Highland Shores Children’s Aid Society for information
- Access provincial funding for educational resources for children affected by school and childcare closures
- Prince Edward County has put in place a number of financial relief measures – read about them here and here
- Ontario is partnering with the federal government on a rent relief program for small businesses experiencing COVID-19-related financial hardship
- The federal government announced a comprehensive benefits package on March 18th, including a new COVID-19 Emergency Support Benefit and supplements to Canada Child Tax Benefit, GST Credit, and Farm Credit Canada
- Info regarding quarantine-related EI benefits can be found here
- Canada’s six largest banks have announced a variety of measures to help individual and small business customers cope
- Hydro One has a Pandemic Relief Fund
- The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation recommends contacting your mortgage agent if you are having difficulty paying your mortgage.
- For support for entrepreneurs / small business owners affected by the COVID-19 crisis, click here
- Freelancers can adapt this letter for use in advocacy efforts
- The CBC developed this list of resources for freelance artists
Ways to help
- Financial and food donations:
- The County Foundation is accepting donations to its PEC Helping PEC – COVID-19 Fund – the aim is to raise $100,000 to assist “communities vulnerable in the areas of food and health”
- United Way Hastings & Prince Edward is accepting donations to its COVID-19 Community Response Fund – the aim is to “deploy resources to community-based organizations that are offering emergency relief to families and individuals in need”
- The Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital Foundation has set up the COVID-19 Relief Fund to help the Quinte Health Care 4-hospital system treat and save the lives of COVID-19 patients
- Wellington’s Storehouse Foodbank continues to collect food donations at Wellington’s Foodland, Wellington Home Hardware and Rockn Rogers and also accepts email transfers – more info here
- The Picton United Church Foodbank encourages financial donations at this time; please call ahead (613-476-8516) to arrange food donation dropoffs
- Feed Me Love PEC is serving free home-cooked meals on Sunday evenings (pick up in Picton) to locals working essential services, neighbours, and hospitality workers – to contribute financially or sign up to receive a meal, contact AJ and Erin at email@example.com
- Volunteer opportunities
- Community Care for Seniors is currently recruiting volunteers through a “no-touch” process – leave a message at 613-476-7493
- Volunteer & Information Centre Quinte is recruiting volunteers on behalf of several local organizations; you can sign up to be notified of opportunities here
- Offer support through one of the local online or offline community volunteer initiatives listed above
- Personal Protective Equipment donations
- Quinte Health Care is accepting donations of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (including goggles, face shields, masks, gloves and gowns). If you have have some that you are willing to donate, please contact the hospital at 613-438-4394 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- A number of new grassroots initiatives are working to make PPE for frontline workers in the area, including PPE for PEC (email@example.com) and Fun With Stitches (you can also donate to the latter’s Go Fund Me fundraiser to help purchase supplies)
- Support local businesses
- The SupportLocalPEC.ca site was developed in response to COVID-19 to let County residents know which businesses are offering products and services to the community – check it out for info on grocery pick-up/delivery services and special seniors’ hours, and on which restaurants and wineries are providing delivery or pick up (tip for the latter – click on the “Restaurant” or “Winery/Brewery/Cidery” options under the “Delivery” heading)
- Also see these maps of local food and beverage establishments that are open for social distanced take out and/or delivery
- Update May 20, 2020 – Health Canada now recommends wearing a non-medical face mask in situations where it may not be possible to maintain the appropriate distance from other people (e.g. grocery shopping). A number of County residents and stores are now selling cloth face masks. Some resources:
- 3 ways to make a cloth face covering and short instructional video from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control
- Get the kids on board! To help explain the need for physical distancing to children, check out the gentle Time To Come In, Bear book/video and this CBC Kids video. Older kids might benefit from reading this e-zine, comic, or kids’ guide. Let Rosita and Elmo teach your kids the right way to sneeze or boogie down to the Wash your Hands Rap!
- PEC Public Library is holding online Seniors FUNctional Fitness Classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings
- Get outside!
- See this comprehensive PEC Parents post for up-to-date info on what’s open and permitted with regards to outdoor recreation
- Melanie from That Blue Barn (115 Mitchell Crossroad) has invited local families to check out their array of animals (pigs, turkeys, ducks, hens, and a rooster!) from the road.
- For everyone:
- Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)’s website has a comprehensive COVID-19 section
- Very Well Mind has a great overview article on managing Coronavirus-related mental health symptoms (the suggestion to limit media consumption to specific times in a day especially resonated with me!) and this Coronavirus Sanity Guide offers a podcast on how to handle pandemic-related anxiety as well as some on-theme talks and guided meditations.
- This Care for your Coronavirus Anxiety site also brings together some helpful resources.
- For kids and parents:
- I love a good story for helping children through tough moments. Sparkle Stories is offering some free kids’ audio stories about managing fears and anxiety.
- This video offers some great tips on how to speak about the situation with your kids.
- Covid with Kids is a helpful site developed by a group of child and adolescent psychiatrists
E-learning and childcare resources
- E-learning resources:
- Hastings & Prince Edward School Board Learning at Home portal
- Learning at Home site from the Ministry of Education lists supplementary e-learning resources
- An emergency childcare centre for children aged 0-12 years of eligible essential workers is open at Picton’s HUB Child & Family Centre.
- All Prince Edward County Public Library branches are now doing curbside pickup for book orders – more info here.
- County people continue to gather … online! Examples include Rosehaven Yarn Shop’s Friday Night Virtual Knit Parties and the County Canteen’s Quaran-Trivia sessions on Thursday nights
- Music is my medicine. If you’re the same, you and/or your kids might enjoy tumbling down the rabbit hole that is National Public Radio’s Tiny Desk concert series. Many Canadian symphony orchestras are creating beautiful virtual performances – check some out here, here, and here. If your household is in need of a gentle soundtrack, check out a Spotify playlist I put together of my favourites called “Chillin’ with the Littles”.
- Gain access through the Prince Edward County Public Library website to Hoopla (10 downloads/month of on demand e-books, audiobooks, movies, shows, and music); Kanopy Kids (unlimited movies and shows, including a storytime section with classics from Curious George to Mo Willems!); and Overdrive (e-books and audiobooks)
- The awesome PEC library children’s team members are doing live storytimes with stories, crafts, and activities on their Facebook page every Tuesday-Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
- Sparkle Stories, a producer of audio for kids, is offering a free 30-day trial and has curated a list of audio stories to inspire imaginative play. Story Nory is another great free audiobook site for kids.
- Virtually tour historical sites, galleries, and national parks with Google Arts & Culture
- Support Picton’s Regent Theatre with $12 ticket purchases to their virtual screenings
- The National Film Board’s website has a selection of short films based on children’s books
- Check out TED’s many talks and video animations for kids, and learn about the newly launched TED-Ed@Home – a daily newsletter with a handful of engaging videos and accompanying lessons organized by age group
- Tune into daily free live art & craft tutorials
- #Operationstorytime! Favourite children’s authors are hosting online storytimes
- Cosmic Kids Yoga offers entertaining 10-15 minute story-based yoga classes
- Finally, you’ve no doubt seen the flurry of activity ideas for kids swirling around the Internets in the past few days, but here are a few of the most helpful links I found:
- Giant list of ideas for being home with kids
- Kid Quarantine Resources Facebook group
- The entire Busy Toddler site is a gold mine!
- 20 days’ worth of active learning journeys from Scholastic Learn At Home
- Ideas list from the Screen-Free Parenting site
- Mystery Science lessons
- List of online music education games
- 50 easy indoor activities
- Outdoor activity ideas from Tinkergarten
- 31 Days of Learning with Free Materials from the OT Toolbox
- Daily Lunch Doodles with Author/Illustrator Mo Willems
- Comprehensive list of education companies currently offering free subscriptions
- Free worksheets for kindergarten-Grade 5 students from K5 Learning
- Raz-Kids is offering free access to its leveled reading resources for kids for the rest of the school year
I hope everyone finds something helpful in this post. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.