Dave Obee: Nearly $6M raised, Rapid Relief Fund is wrapping up soon

Donate online at RapidReliefFund.ca. More options below.  

The Rapid Relief Fund is closing in on $6 million — and now, our work is almost done. After seven weeks, most immediate needs have been filled. Thousands of people who were hit hard by COVID-19 have been helped, thanks to your generous donations.

The fund was created to collect money as fast as possible, and get it into the hands of organizations working directly with people in need. In March, the coronavirus tsunami overwhelmed many of those groups, and they required money quickly to meet the sudden need. 

You provided that money through the Rapid Relief Fund, which was launched by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation and the Times Colonist on March 21.

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We saw the unprecedented, urgent need, and so did many of you. Together, our community has made a huge difference, and eased the suffering that many people were feeling.

The many organizations that provide support have had a chance to catch up to the demand. Government aid is being given to more people. Individuals with means and private enterprises have joined in to help. We are even seeing signs that our lives will get to some sort of normal, although to be clear, the damage that has been done will take months to fix.

Our plan is to wrap up the Rapid Relief Fund early this week, which means you have a few more days to make a donation, or to make your second, third or fourth donation. Every penny raised will be given to community organizations so they can continue their fantastic work.

When we started, our goal was to raise $1 million in a week, and we reached that goal in less than 36 hours. Now, we would love to see the fund reach $6 million, but we would not be upset to see it go even higher. Again, whatever we raise will be put to work.

Along with donations, we have received thousands of comments from those who have given money. They have been inspiring, and have reinforced the strong community involvement that makes Vancouver Island such a special place.

For example:

“Imagine the plight of our vulnerable fellow citizens.”

“Given in memory of my mother who depended on charity from others for most of her childhood.”

“We live in such a wonderful community. Helping one and other is a big part of that spirit.”

“This isn’t the easiest time to give, follow suit and join me, please.”

“During these trying times, we must not forget that we are stronger together than apart.”

A longer comment that is quite powerful:

“How we respond to this fear and uncertainty will be debated for decades. This fund is giving hope to people which is more powerful than fear. Hope gives us the confidence to know that we can handle whatever life brings us.

“There is a season and a time for everything, for pleasure and pain, and it is not for us to determine what season we are in, only to embrace the season that we are in, and to give hope to those who are feeling hopeless right now.”

The success of the Rapid Relief Fund should give everyone hope — those who need help, and those who have offered a helping hand. We really are in this together, and we really do look out for each other.

“The sky is not falling. It is spring. Birds are singing. There is hope for the future.”

Those words were part of the column I wrote to announce the creation of the fund; they were true then and they are true today.

We all came together to provide a safety net during this crisis. We — all of us — should feel proud about what we have done.

The Rapid Relief Fund will remain open for a few more days, so let’s push the total as high as we can. After this fund closes, please do not forget the dozens of organizations that are working on the front lines to give aid where it is needed.

If you can afford to donate, please do so. If you have been holding off on making a donation, now is your chance. Everyone who can help, must help.

Thank you.

dobee@timescolonist.com

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. Every dollar received from donations goes out as grants to the community.

Donations are being distributed through the Victoria Foundation:

victoriafoundation.bc.ca/rapid-relief-fund-disbursements

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