Dave Obee: Governments are acting, but there’s still plenty of need

Money is still coming into the Rapid Relief Fund — thanks again — and it is going out as well. As promised.

The fund was established to give immediate need to those affected by COVID-19. We’ve passed $1.4 million, and remember that every dollar donated before Sunday night will be matched by a group of local entrepreneurs and technology leaders.

“But wait a minute,” you say. “The federal and provincial governments are announcing aid every few hours. That means the need is gone, right?”

Wrong. There are hundreds or thousands of immediate needs out there — needs that cannot wait for the government’s cavalry to ride in and save the day. 

> Donate at rapidrelieffund.ca. More options below.

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Shelter. Food. Child care. These might not worry you, but they cause constant fear for thousands of people in Greater Victoria.

Imagine being a single mom holding down two jobs to make ends meet, and now those jobs have gone. Or imagine a restaurant worker who relied on a low basic salary and tips — because when help does arrive, it will be based on their base income. They need more. They need help.

The need is now. Not in April or May. Now.

There is a reason why the word “Rapid” was included when the fund was set up last week by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation and the Times Colonist. We want whatever we collect to be put to work in the community as rapidly as possible. And in terms of goals, the sky is the limit, with $2 million the next milestone.

It is getting a major boost from the matching promise that the local group announced on Wednesday.

The matching funds, of every dollar donated before Sunday night to a maximum of $355,000, will be provided by Tiny, the Lake family’s All One Fund, the Jawl Foundation, Cork and Barrel Spirit Merchants Inc., Rajiv Khaneja and Sparklit Software, Frosty Pop, Toro Consulting, Pilothouse, and a local entrepreneur who wishes to remain anonymous.

Some are helping in other ways. Andrew Wilkinson and Chris Sparling at Tiny are also offering zero-interest loans for small businesses.

The Rapid Relief Fund is making a difference, and we’ve barely started. Thanks to all of you, and thanks as well to Rob Germain and his team at CHEK Television for helping to spread the word to viewers across the Island and on the Lower Mainland. Darren Webb of Coast Outdoor Advertising has also come on board, offering space on billboards. And yes, Black Press has also joined in with ads and news coverage. Good on them.

This truly has become a community effort, and it shows the power that we have on Vancouver Island.

The initial fund disbursements went to groups working in Greater Victoria, but as more money comes in, we will spread the goodwill across the Malahat and in the Gulf Islands as well.

Many people are in need. Many others can help. Let’s keep at it until this crisis has passed.

Again, thanks.

dobee @timescolonist.com

HOW TO DONATE

Tax receipts will be issued.

• Online: rapidrelieffund.ca

• Phone: 250-381-5532

• Mail: Send cheques to the Victoria Foundation at #200-703 Broughton St., Victoria, B.C., V8W 1E2

Please ensure cheques 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.

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