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United Way reflects on the COVID-19 pandemic one year later

Letter to the Community:
United Way reflects on the
COVID-19 pandemic one year later

As the province and local authorities work diligently to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine locally, across Ontario and the country, I reflect on the past year in my position at United Way Northumberland. It seems like just yesterday that we were ordered to close up shop and go home. Many of us thought it would just be a few weeks before things went back to “normal” and we could not have predicted that wearing masks in public, working from home, and keeping distance from family and friends would become the new standard. So many lives have been impacted as a result of COVID-19, and we are not out of the woods yet. As we continue to strive for some semblance of normalcy by reaching out digitally to friends, family, and colleagues, time continues to tick on.

When I arrived in this role in August of 2019, my plan was to get into the community as much as possible, to meet as many of you as I could, and to build connections for the benefit of every resident in Northumberland County. Our team would host events to encourage people to get involved with United Way Northumberland and our partners and we would continue to raise awareness and funds for essential local programs and services. We would build upon past campaigns and community events and continue the momentum that came well before my time at Northumberland United Way. As is true for so many small businesses, companies, and organizations in Northumberland County, we have had to adjust and do things differently.

This difference between our best-laid intentions and what has been possible over the last year has left many of us feeling, at times, defeated. How different is your life from what you thought it would be one year ago? For me, I miss working together in the same room as my colleagues, feeling the energy from community events, and looking someone in the eye when I say, “thank you.” I miss handshakes and hugs, time with family and seeing a stranger smile. I miss large gatherings, going to the movies, and holding newborn babies. I’m certain that many of you miss those and many other things as well. I am tired and I know many of you are too. Some of us have lost loved ones to COVID-19 and although it is important to have self-compassion for how challenging this can be in our regular day-to-day, the loss of life puts everything into perspective. This pandemic is serious, and we must keep each other safe.

Since the onset of the pandemic last year, stories of neighbours helping neighbours, community partners coming together in new and innovative ways, and residents pulling together, have come from all over our community. So, when I feel defeated or uncomfortable in the uncertainty of our time, I remember the resilience, generosity, compassion, and community spirit that permeates the entire geography of Northumberland County and I am reassured. I have heard from many people that they have learned lessons about patience, kindness, gratitude, and the importance of stillness. It is my sincere wish to remember to carry forward the lessons I’ve learned throughout the last year to ensure a brighter future for myself and everyone with whom I am connected. I have seen silver linings across all facets of my life and in my role as CEO at United Way Northumberland, and I know I will continue to see this as the days, weeks, and months go by.

Despite the enormous challenges we have faced in 2020 and continue to face in 2021, our community has stepped up to support one another during this unprecedented time. We will continue to wear masks and work from home and keep our distance so that we save lives. And we will continue to grow through whatever life throws at us.

Why? Because we are human, we are Canadian, and we are Northumberland County.

P.S. Our community continues to respond to COVID-19 related needs. Your support is needed now more than ever. Please give generously at

It's our Radiothon &
Giving Tuesday!

Today’s the day! Join us for our 4th annual Radiothon presented by Cobourg KIA, broadcasting live on Classic Rock 107.9, 93.3 myFM, and Oldies 100.9. We’re bringing the excitement to you from Lauria Hyundai in Port Hope and The Market & Smør in Cobourg. Your support directly benefits the Northumberland Eats Voucher Program and other essential programs. Tune in now and be part of the positive impact!