Help Starts Here This Winter 2017

The 211 helpline helps Ontario residents navigate the stress of the winter season

The winter months can cause both financial and emotional stress, especially for people living on a low income or coping with a change in their circumstances. Expensive utility bills, poor health and weather increasing isolation, or the challenges of feeding kids home for the holidays when your paycheck isn’t enough are a few of winter’s stressors. By calling 2-1-1 from anywhere in Ontario, or visiting, residents can access a wide variety of community services, including:

  • Community Volunteer Tax Clinics, offering low-income individuals and families help to file their taxes.
  • Financial support with utility bills, keeping heat on for families during the cold months of winter.
  • Holiday toy programs, helping children experience the joys of the holiday season.
  • Holiday meals and gift baskets to combat the hunger and isolation that winter and poverty can bring.
  • Out of the Cold programs, providing hot meals and/or beds to the homeless and hungry.
  • Snow removal for seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Winter coats and boots for children, to keep them warm through the cold of winter.
  • Support for the homeless, including winter clothing, boots, sleeping bags and care kits.
  • Meals on Wheels and transportation assistance for seniors and those with disabilities, helping them eat enough food through the winter and make it to critical medical appointments in any weather.
  • Friendly visits and calls for seniors, keeping them connected and providing cheer during the holidays.
  • Recreation opportunities, providing ways to make friends, get active and reduce isolation.
  • Mental health programs, including distress lines, crisis programs, support groups and more.


“Poverty is a far-reaching and complex issue. The challenges it brings are never more difficult than during the winter and holiday season,” said Karen Milligan, Executive Director, Ontario 211 Services. “We know there are community services that can dramatically improve someone’s life, but finding them is still the challenge. A call to 211 makes it easy.”

Internet phone users can call 1-877-330-3213, and TTY users can call 1-888-340-1001.

If you live in Windsor and Essex County, download this handy 2017 Holiday Sharing Guide that lists local community programs and services and “How to GIVE HELP and GET HELP in Windsor and Essex County.”

Please keep in mind program and service information is subject to change throughout the season. Call 211 or email for up-to-date information.

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