Lunch to go

Volunteer Ron Lee Kam, holding a take-home lunch, and Dew Drop Inn executive director Michael Quibell.

More than $100,000 is being given out in the first round of funding from the Thunder Bay COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

The response fund is a joint initiative between the United Way of Thunder Bay and the Thunder Bay Community Foundation. On Tuesday, six front line organizations were given grants to address urgent needs in the city.

Roots to Harvest is receiving $16,800 for its Emergency Good Food Box for Seniors program. Each box will include healthy, non-perishable food and fresh produce and will be given to 100 low-income seniors every week.

The Dew Drop Inn will get $19,600 for take-home lunches. The soup kitchen feeds hundreds people every day in Thunder Bay.

More than $14,000 will go to Shelter House to ensure no one goes hungry or without a safe place to sleep during the pandemic.

The Regional Food Distribution Association is receiving $40,000 for its emergency food bank hamper distribution and Our Kids Count will get $2,000 to distribute food hampers and provide counselling and home visits as well Big Brothers Big Sister support over the phone.

And the Northwestern Ontario Women’s Shelter’s Regional First Nation Emergency Good Food Box program is receiving more than $13,000 to deliver 1,152 boxes to three regional First Nation communities during the next two months.

As the Dew Drop Inn is putting together 400 takeout lunches daily, executive director Michael Quibell said the funding is essential to help them continue to feed the hungry in Thunder Bay.

“With so many lives depending on us, I shudder to think what would happen if we no longer could offer our services,” he said in a news release.

More funding through the COVID-19 Community Response Fund is expected to flow later this week. A joint committee is evaluating applications, looking to ensure there is a response to emerging needs.

Agencies can apply for funding online through the Thunder Bay Community Foundation. And anyone looking to donate can online at or or by mail to either organization.

(This story originally published April 2, 2020)

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