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DFC puts pandemic plan in place to ensure supports for everyone

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The Dauphin Friendship Centre is putting plans in place to make sure everyone has what they need to make it through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve been fortunate that there’s been very few cases in Manitoba, but what happens if that changes,” said DFC executive director Jeremy Smith, who sits on one of the provincial adjudication committees providing funding.
The response plan is broken down into several categories including Safety Items, Food Security and Household Management, Educational Activities, Social and Recreational Activities, Physical and Mental Health and Transportation
“Right now we’re trying to focus on helping people to get through any immediate needs,” Smith said.
“So right now the focus is to try getting some supplies like disinfectant, hand sanitizer, things like that because they are in very short supply. And we want to focus on getting prepared.”
DFC, Smith said, is prepared to include other agencies in the community and, at this point, has shred its plan and offered supports to the Dauphin and District Food Bank, Under One Roof and the Manitoba Métis Federation.
For example, with the food bank, the DFC has offered the use of its back hall which provides more space for operations.
“To give them assistance so they don’t run out of resources. Because it’s a trying time for them and we want to make sure that they have enough resources and enough space because, with social distancing, that may be a problem for them. So we just want to make sure that they have options,” Smith said
“It is just an option and it could be that they may still provide their own hampers and we would just exchange information to make sure that everybody’s receiving services that they need.”
Partnerships with other agencies might be as simple as providing needed supplies such as hand sanitizer or personal protective equipment, Smith said.
“To help them to get prepared. Because we can take all the precautions we want, but if somebody else isn’t prepared then none of us are,” he said.
“That’s kind of the idea.”
In the area of Safety Items, the DFC plan calls for securing items to prevent person-to-person transmission of the virus such as hand sanitizer, face masks, disinfectant wipes and sprays and other personal protective equipment.
In the area of Food Security and Household Management, the DFC plans to deliver supply packages to those in need which include not only food, but items such as toothpaste, shampoo, laundry soap, vitamins, bleach, spray bottles, garbage bags, feminine hygiene products, soap and toilet paper.
The plan also calls for supporting Educational Activities through providing online supports, obtaining school supplies for youth returning to the classroom in the fall and providing public access to computers.
In the area of Social and Recreational Activities, the DFC plans to promote the use of online activities using social media, as well as altering existing programs to promote social distancing through the use of technology.
For example, Smith said, cooking classes could help with the delivery of ingredients to participants’ homes in the morning followed by a Facebook Live class in the afternoon. Yoga and powwow dance classes, reading children’s books online or promoting games that can be played over video chat are also among the numerous possibilities, he added.
Physical and Mental Health would be promoted through positive interactions, as well as hosting a video chatroom for people to express their feelings, gain ideas and have positive interaction with others.
In the area of transportation, the DFC is looking to use its fleet of vehicles for delivering supplies, as well as aiding those in need to get to medical and banking appointments.
The plan also covers a variety of smaller needs and accounts for resources already in place, Smith said.
Funding is being sought and Smith said support is expected from the Manitoba Métis Federation, Indigenous Services Canada and Mastercard.
“We’re estimating that the between Mastercard and Indigenous Services Canada we should receive a minimum of $55,000,” he said, adding the local application to the Manitoba Métis Federation is still being evaluated.
Whatever money is received will be put to good use, Smith said.
“I don’t know if there’s a set goal in mind for how much money we need, because at this point we don’t know how long the pandemic will last. There are so many variables that it’s hard to determine when the pandemic will end and how much it will affect our area. And any resource we get would definitely benefit our area,” he said.
“I don’t know if people are being missed. but this would help to fill any gaps in services that somebody may not have identified yet.
“We expect to receive a huge response because there are many who have seen a reduction in their income who may be struggling and we are trying to target those people who have seen a reduction in income and an increased hardship.”