Comment: Tough times call for show of compassion

A commentary by a Victoria lawyer

These are challenging times that test our character, both as individuals and as a society.

Traditionally, Canadians meet these types of challenges by pulling together. As a result, we have a society where compassion is paramount. We need to follow that tradition if we are to make it through the novel-coronavirus threat.

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The basic things are those we tend to take for granted — food, shelter, health.

In this situation, there are a lot of people who are experiencing unbelievable stress. Many have lost their jobs and have no way to predict when they will have an income to provide for the basic needs of themselves and their families.

There are people who are suffering more than most. Residents of nursing homes are not able to exercise control over their environment. They must rely on the dedication of others to protect them. Similarly, homeless people have very few options, if any, in the current situation. They often rely on the availability of shelters to provide a place to sleep that is out of the elements. They may need assistance to ensure that their food needs are met. As a result, their access to basic needs is often not compatible with physical distancing.

These vulnerable people have stress that may become despair at some point. In addition to the problems with basic needs, we have the added problem that they simply cannot avoid risks that can lead to contracting the virus.

As a Canadian, I am proud of our compassionate traditions. However, compassion alone will not be enough to help people make it through the present crisis. We also need the resources that can alleviate the suffering of those most affected by the global pandemic. Without those resources, our words sound good but are meaningless.

In previous crises, Canadians have stepped up to plate to help out those less fortunate, without asking: “What’s in it for me?” It is time once again for us to show the world that we meet challenges together, knowing that this is the measure of our character.

In these times, there are many important causes asking for your financial assistance. The pandemic cause is particularly worthy, because those who are most vulnerable are going to be the hardest hit.

I know a lot of people will not be in a position to donate anything as they struggle to cope. Those of us who are able to donate should, and see if we can take up some of the slack by donating more than we usually would, in our Canadian tradition of generosity.

We are experiencing a crisis of a magnitude that has not recently been seen in Canada. Your financial help and compassion for those in need will help now, as we all work together to rebuild our families, friends and communities. We are all in this crisis together. Those of us who can give should do so, to help the many in Victoria who have lost so much.

Please, give as much as you can.

HOW TO DONATE

Tax receipts will be issued. If you are open to receiving your tax receipt by PDF, please include an email address with your donation.

• Online: RapidReliefFund.ca

• Phone: 250-381-5532

• Mail: Send cheques (made out to the Victoria Foundation) to RapidRelief Fund, Victoria Foundation, 200-703 Broughton St., Victoria V8W 1E2

The Rapid Relief Fund was created by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation, and the Times Colonist to help people in need as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. CHEK Television, Coast Outdoor Advertising and Black Press are helping to boost awareness.

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