Non-profits and organizations in Kingston are hoping for a piece of the pie after city council voted to add a $1 million pandemic relief package during recent budget deliberations.
The package would include approximately $600,000 support for small businesses, $200,000 for recreation and social service not-for-profit organizations and roughly $200,000 for artists and not-for-profit arts organizations, all of which have been impacted by the pandemic.
Andy Mills is the executive director of the Food Sharing Project. He says the charity, which provides lunches to kids in schools, has seen an increase in demand, while the cost of food and delivering it safely has also gone up.
"Our typical weekly orders are $10,000 to 12,000 worth of food, which is a lot,” says Mills. "But now we’re seeing the numbers at 13, 14, 15-thousands dollars a week."
Chair Brenda Moore says, under the pandemic, the group cannot raise money the way it used to, and says this money would be welcome to charities like theirs.
"All of this unpredictability is often times when organizations find they don’t have the money to be flexible to respond to that unpredictable nature so anything the city can provide for us would put us in a more stable position," Moore explains. "We need all the help we can get"
Council voted to pull the $1 million pandemic relief fund from the city's reserves.
Artists say they’re happy to be included as well. Kingston’s tourism sector has been hit hard by COVID-19 closures.
Kimberly Dolan works with Blue Canoe Theatrical. She says artists lost revenue this year as festivals and performances were cancelled.
"Artists have been struggling to find work, to be able to share their craft with the world," says Kimberly Dolan. "Long term it would mean being able to sustain ourselves. We can’t just say 'yeah come pick up a play and watch it' that way. So it would mean sustaining ourselves in this time.”
While these groups tell CTV News Ottawa that they are excited about the possibility of receiving funding, the question remains, will they be eligible for the limited amount of funds available. The city says city staff and local organizations will be working towards figuring out the specifics in the coming weeks.