Community steps up to provide rapid relief; where $1M in donations will go

Victorians have once again shown that they are ready for the fight as they raised more than $1 million for the Rapid Relief Fund in just 36 hours.

The fund was launched on the weekend by the Times Colonist, the Victoria Foundation and the Jawl Foundation to help the most vulnerable amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

> Donate online at rapidrelieffund.ca

“This virus presents a real and immediate challenge to people not just in Victoria, but around the world,” said Robert Jawl, representing the Jawl Foundation.

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He said he has received numerous calls with offers of help. “The response has been awe-inspiring. I derive great confidence that people understand that we are truly in this together.”

Not all businesses are suffering in the same manner and those who haven’t felt the effects as badly are pitching in to help others who are suffering.

Parker Johnston Industries has donated $10,000, with their 250 employees pitching in $5,000 from their own emergency fund to help others. ‘We are already committed to helping out our family,” said Rod Parker, president of the company. “But we also have the capacity to help others at this time. We know that donating to the Victoria Foundation means that the money stays local.”

He said donating to the Rapid Relief Fund freed him from having to make the difficult choice of choosing which charity to support.

Just as the money was raised quickly, the funds will be distributed to those in need just as quickly, with charities expected to receive funds this week, said Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “The fundraiser shows that when push comes to shove, Victorians step up,” she said. “It provides hope to people looking for a bright glimmer of hope in an otherwise dark world.”

The first $1 million will go toward a range of programs and services to maintain food accessibility, support for housing and to maintain health protocols in the community, said Rob Janus, director of communications at the Victoria Foundation.

“Some programs serve as financial supports, to help with rent or hydro, and others to ensure food access,” said Janus. “There is even one, with the Coalition of Neighbourhood Houses, that provides childcare for workers employed in essential services.”

parrais@timescolonist.com

How to donate

• Online at rapidrelieffund.ca. Tax receipts will be issued.

• By mail. Send cheques to the Victoria Foundation at #200 — 703 Broughton St., Victoria, B.C., V8W 1E2.

Please ensure they are made out to the Victoria Foundation. Note the “Rapid Relief Fund” in the memo line or in a cover letter. If you are open to receiving your tax receipt by PDF, please include an email address with your donation.

Where the first $1 million will go

Coalition of Neighbourhood Houses - $275,000 to be shared among 10 organizations, including:

• Beacon Community Services - $125,000 for financial supports, through the Homeless Prevention Fund, for rent subsidies, hydro, income supports etc.

• Burnside Gorge Community Centre - $75,000 for training and materials to follow health protocols and for childcare operations.

• Fernwood Neighbourhood Resource Group - $75,000 for food access

Food Share Network - $200,000

• Saint Vincent de Paul Society of Vancouver Island - $50,000 for staffing needs to keep social concern office to continue food access programming in place and maintaining health protocols.

• Victoria Cool Aid Society - $150,000 for food access, financial supports, housing and to maintain health protocols currently in place

Salvation Army Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre - $175,000

• Food access

• Housing/shelter

• By phone counselling services

• Maintain health protocols currently in place

Salvation Army Stan Hagen Centre for Families - $150,000

• Food access

• Crisis counselling by phone

• Financial support (rent, hydro etc.) by phone

• Maintain health protocols currently in place

Mustard Seed - $200,000

• Food access (Viewfield/Food Rescue and food bank/meals)

• Maintain health protocols currently in place

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