Young people attend Go Green Youth Centre's summer camp in 2019.
The Go Green Youth Centre typically runs after-school and weekend programs by and for young people living in densely populated highrise apartments in Toronto’s east end.
Already reeling from cuts by the Progressive Conservative provincial government to funding for youth programs, the charity is now also going without the fees it usually collects from groups that pay to use its field to play cricket in the evenings.
Its full-day summer camp may not go ahead due to safety and social distancing concerns, and Go Green is scrambling to come up with alternative activities it can deliver virtually to help entertain the roughly 500 children it normally serves.
“I’d love to be able to pay for watercolour pencils and a few paint brushes and maybe a couple of canvases, a sketch pad,” said Lisa Grogan-Green, Go Green’s co-chair. “But we need a budget for that, we don’t have the money for that.
Young clients and staff at Go Green Youth Centre's summer camp in 2019.
Go Green is just one of hundreds of charitable organizations across Canada struggling to keep its programming going as the lockdown hampers both their ability to deliver services and to fundraise.
Imagine Canada, an advocacy group that represents some 170,000 charities, says COVID-19 and the resulting societal restrictions have so far hurt them much more than the Great Recession of the late 2000s did.