Thrifty Foods pledges to match Rapid Relief Fund donations up to $100,000

Thrifty Foods is hoping to turn $100,000 into twice that for the Rapid Relief Fund with an offer to match donations.

The grocery chain will match all donations up to $100,000 until Wednesday at midnight.

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Ralf Mundel, vice-president of operations for Thrifty Foods, is asking everyone who is in a position to contribute to “dig deep.”

“That extra dollar that someone can contribute will now be turned into $2, which gets the money circulating back into our economy for those who need it most,” Mundel said.

He said the company decided to contribute because of the growing need in the community due to COVID-19.

“As a member of this community that can make a donation, it’s the right thing to do.”

Mundel thanked the chain’s employees who are working in challenging circumstances to provide an essential service and credited them for making the donation possible.

“It’s really on behalf of our hardworking Thrifty Foods team members,” he said.

Thrifty Foods opened its first store in Victoria’s Fairfield neighbourhood and now has locations across the province.

The Rapid Relief Fund has raised more than $4.8 million to support people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic since it was launched about a month ago by the Victoria Foundation, the Jawl family and the Times Colonist.

Rob Janus, director of communications for the Victoria Foundation, said he’s amazed by the community’s generosity. “We started this out with modest goal of reaching $1 million, and  we’ve been having to reset that goal regularly,” Janus said.

“It’s just been an absolutely incredible experience.”

A matching challenge announced Friday night at the start of CHEK TV’s Rock for Relief: A Living Room Concert for Vancouver Island surpassed expectations, meeting the $100,000 goal in just 40 minutes.

By the end of the evening, about $400,000 had poured in from more than 2,500 donors, Janus said.

“We’re Islanders. We look out for each other. That’s what it comes down to,” he said, adding the fundraiser will continue as long as there is a need.

About $2.5 million from the Rapid Relief Fund has already gone out to 34 community organizations, with a focus on groups working to prevent homelessness and provide food security and physical and mental health supports.

The concert also brought in more than $142,000 for the Community Response Fund (also called the Island Response Fund), which supports communities north of the Cowichan Valley.

“We’ve had a lot of donations come in today, which is also thanks to the success of the show, so we’re pretty appreciative of it,” said Laurie Bienert, executive director of the Nanaimo Foundation.

“We’re overwhelmed with the community generosity. It’s great to see Nanaimoites and Islanders coming together to help.”

Rock for Relief helped the fund meet and exceed its goal of a quarter million dollars. With $362,000 raised so far, they’ve set their sights on $400,000 and will keep raising the bar.

regan-elliott@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.

The Rapid Relief Fund website includes a page with information on recipients and how they are using the money.

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