Mayor David Screech: Generosity of community is inspiring and urgently needed

Donate online at RapidReliefFund.ca. More options below. 

I remember this past Christmas being truly overwhelmed at the generosity shown by so many in Greater Victoria towards organizations such as the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, CFAX Santas Anonymous, the Salvation Army Christmas telethon, and more.

The care and support from the business community, private citizens and non-profits was truly inspiring and showed what a wonderful broader community we all live in.

And now we are seeing it once again. In a time of unprecedented crisis that hits the marginalized in our society the hardest, the community is again rising to the challenge and demonstrating an outpouring of care and support.

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I want to thank the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl Foundation and the Times Colonist, along with others, for setting up the much- needed Rapid Relief Fund in this time of great need and uncertainty.

Once again, the level of support from our community has been overwhelming.

As I am writing this, we are at $2.8 million and climbing.

The need for these funds cannot be overstated. All around our community, we are seeing impacts of the COVID-19 virus.

While some of the impacts are clear, such as the 900 block of Pandora Avenue, there will be many less evident, but equally devastating, impacts to lives.

With residents heeding government orders to stay home, the worry and dread of many is invisible.

We don’t see the fear of minimum-wage earners without resources to stock their larders, or of those in the gig economy whose income streams have vanished.

We don’t see the single parents now alone at home with homebound children, who don’t know how to keep food in the fridge and spirits aloft.

We don’t see our elderly residents, many alone, unable to go to the grocery store or see family or friends. This is a lonely pandemic that is surely affecting people emotionally.

As a society, we must look after everyone and ensure that we emerge from this crisis collectively and strong. For those who are able, a donation to the Rapid Relief Fund helps respond to urgent need.

We must ensure that organizations have the means to continue and even expand their work during this crisis so that the needed help is available.

As a business owner in Victoria, I see the incredible need on our streets on a daily basis, need that will only worsen. Anything we can do to help those suffering is clearly the right thing to do.

I thank and acknowledge those who are showing support in so many other ways, be it banging pots at 7 p.m. or putting hearts in our windows — there are gestures all through our community that make a difference and are a beacon of light at a difficult time.

Know that they are appreciated by the front-line workers and the emergency responders, and by the community as a whole.

Collectively, we shall get through this.

Your contributions and efforts, be they large or small, will make a difference in our community and allow us to emerge from this crisis stronger than before.

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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