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Soles United - A Step Forward

United Way Centraide North East Ontario - Monday, 7 June 2021

For individuals experiencing homelessness, access to appropriate, seasonal footwear is an everyday struggle. Through the Local Love in a Global Crisis Community Response Fund, United Way Centraide North East Ontario /Nord-est de l’Ontario (UWCNEO) established Soles United, a targeted initiative to help local organizations offering homelessness supports provide new shoes to their clients.

“UWCNEO’s COVID-19 response efforts and investments are possible because of our generous donors who supported the Community Response Fund. For well over a year, it has provided us with the opportunity to work closely with social service providers addressing immediate basic needs by helping to identify gaps in support and services. It has also provided the flexibility to deliver solutions quickly and efficiently,” says Mary Lou Hussak, Executive Director of United Way Centraide North East Ontario.

Hussak adds, “Soles United was established as a direct result of an identified need in our community. UWCNEO was able to leverage available resources to purchase 359 new pairs of shoes (to date) and partner with five local organizations to coordinate distribution. It’s a strong example of what a mobilized and connected community can make possible.”

When Soles United was established in May, organizations addressing homelessness were invited to apply by completing a short application. UWCNEO is proud to partner with the Canadian Mental Health Association, Sudbury Action Centre for Youth, L’association des jeunes de la rue, the Samaritan Centre, and the YMCA on this impactful initiative.

Soles United is one of the many initiatives supported by UWCNEO’s Community Response Fund. In total, over $285,000 has been invested in emergency food directives, PPE, and other community services.


About the Local Love in a Global Crisis Community Response Fund
UWCNEO established the Community Response Fund to provide emergency grants to local charitable organizations working to meet the basic needs of individuals disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

About United Way
For almost four decades, UWCNEO has been a part of the social fabric that connects our community. Our strength is bringing people together to address complex issues and improve the lives of vulnerable people in our community. We invest in programs and collaborations that create lasting change.

Media Contact
Mary Lou Hussak, Executive Director

T: 705-560-3330 ext. 201


For decades, UWCNEO has been committed to making our community a place where everyone has an opportunity to succeed. In addition to research and advocacy, we invest in the most effective local programs in the areas of poverty, community and kids.