WINDSOR, ONT. -- A new emergency support fund will provide $600,000 to local charities supporting COVID-19 response.

The WindsorEssex Community Foundation announced Friday it will provide the funds to local charities as part of a new partnership with Community Foundations of Canada, United Way Centraide Canada and the Canadian Red Cross, funded through the Government of Canada’s $350 million Emergency Community Support Fund (ECSF).

“This is a vital step in the fight against COVID-19,” WECF board chair Tom Touralias said in a news release.

“Local charities and non-profit organizations have been working tirelessly to support those who need it most right now. This additional funding is a much-needed boost to their efforts. We’re looking forward to flowing funds quickly to ensure no one in our community is left behind.”

The national effort aims to support vulnerable populations hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The WECF is among around 150 local community foundations across the country taking part in the initiative.

The Emergency Support Fund was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau April 21 as part of a series of emergency response measures by the federal government.

The WECF started accepting applications on May 19 for funding from “qualified donees.” The release states grants can be used to many purposes including staffing, purchase assistance, resource needs, among others. Funding will be issued on an ongoing basis through July.

“At Community Foundations of Canada, our purpose to ‘relentlessly pursue a future where everyone belongs’ has never felt more important than it does right now,” said Andrea Dicks, Community Foundations of Canada President.

“We’re grateful for the leadership of local community foundations like WindsorEssex Community Foundation who have been at the forefront of local response efforts since the pandemic was declared.”

Charites and community organizations interested can visit for eligibility and application details.