Our weekly series celebrates organizations that are stepping up to help their community
Has it really been more than two months since this COVID thing went down? As the lockdown drags on, many of us continue to practise social distancing, anxiously awaiting the return of normalcy to our lives. Although it looks like positive changes may be coming with the provincial government’s plan to reopen B.C., it’s more important than ever to keep supporting our communities, businesses and essential workers. Whether it’s a local grocery store or charity, every bit of support helps.
We couldn’t be more proud to share another long list of businesses and other organizations that are making a difference for British Columbians. Know a company or group worthy of recognition? Please send us a note.
The apparel giant has launched the Aritzia Community Care Program, a $20-million effort that will see the company donate clothing to as many as 150,000 health-care workers in Canada and the U.S. When you buy a Sponsor Package, Vancouver-based Aritzia gives two Relief Packages to health professionals on your behalf. Packages start at $100 for the Diamond, which includes two cotton Tour T-shirts and two pairs of Atmosphere leggings. You can find out more about the Aritzia Community Care Program here.
BC Tech for Learning is the only nonprofit licensed to operate the Computers for Schools Plus program in the province. In response to COVID-19, it has distributed more than 250 refurbished laptops and other computers to support students who would otherwise lack access to such technology during the lockdown. Although school districts have pitched in by loaning their equipment, some kids may still get left behind, so BC Tech for Learning is trying to fill the gap. Because that recent push has depleted its inventory of donated computers, the society needs laptops, monitors and tablets now. Learn how you can help here.
From live outdoor murals to interactive painting classes to custom art giveaways, the beer brand is supporting local creators by commissioning work with one goal in mind: to remind Canadians that #WeAllSeeTheSameMoon. Among the artists is Vancouver’s Tierney Milne, whose mural aims to foster connection while we’re all apart in our respective homes. You can check it out at Plenty’s storefront in downtown Vancouver (1107 Robson Street).
To follow up on a previous mention in this column, Blue Grouse has donated $10,000 to the Nourish Cowichan Society, a charity helping feed Vancouver Island families in need. Through April, the Duncan-based winery committed to donating $1 for every bottle sold, matched by another buck from its owners, the Brunner family. Thanks to the support of British Columbians, Blue Grouse sold 4,000 bottles by April 30, for an $8,000 donation. The Brunners rounded that number up to $10,000, which will provide 2,500 meals.
Breaking Bread is a free online hub that connects consumers with independent food and beverage businesses across Canada that have joined together in the fight against COVID-19. Whether visitors are looking for contactless delivery, curbside pickup, groceries or meal kits, Breaking Bread offers the latest news and information on how they can get the nourishment they need. The hub marked its eighth week in operation with the launch of an expanded website featuring more than 1,700 listings across the country.
After learning about the shortage of personal protective equipment for health-care professionals, the Vancouver-headquartered online eyewear company ramped up its production of PPE. So far, Clearly has donated 60,000 face shields to the federal government and 1,000 pairs of safety glasses to Vancouver Coastal Health, which the Public Health Agency of Canada will distribute to facilities in need. The company will be taking further steps to support Canadian front-line workers in the battle against coronavirus.
The Vancouver-based clothing company is taking action against COVID-19 with #VancouverStrong, a branded T-shirt campaign. This initiative has generated about $3,000 in profit, with all proceeds going to the BC Centre for Disease Control. Coastal Reign also just launched a national giveaway program that offers all qualifying small businesses free custom face masks for their employees. Find out if you qualify here.
Taking a local-farm-to-family-table approach, the Langley eatery has pivoted by launching Fat Cow Essentials to better meet the needs of patrons and the wider community. This new retail business sells cooking and baking ingredients alongside much-loved restaurant meals from an adapted menu. Fat Cow Essentials offers curbside pickup and delivery Tuesday through Sunday.
The property titan recently gave a total of $100,000 to several Vancouver organizations in need during COVID-19. Its donation to Vancouver General Hospital helped purchase a GlideScope for coronavirus-related emergency intubations, which lets health-care workers perform critical procedures from a safer distance. The remaining funds went to Backpack Buddies and the Greater Vancouver Food Bank to help close the hunger gap. Grosvenor has also supported local retail tenants and construction crews, offering rent deferrals as well as providing hot lunches to hundreds of subtrades on Vancouver construction sites.
Restaurant Joseph Richard Group has teamed up with Darvonda Nurseries and Krause Berry Farms to host pop-up shops at all of its locations. With both businesses facing revenue losses, Surrey-based JRG let Darvonda set up garden centres in its parking lots and gave Krause a place to sell pies, jams, preserves and frozen berries.
Need a safe and convenient way to make essential trips during the crisis? The Vancouver car-share co-op is offering new and existing Modo Plus members vehicles for their exclusive use at cost. For $500 a month, including gas and insurance, everyone from front-line workers to small delivery businesses can take advantage of Modo’s Essential Transportation Program. The supply of cars is limited, so apply by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with “essential transportation” in the subject line of your message.
In honour of International Nurses Day (May 12), Molson Coors offered 20,000 Canadian health-care workers a meal of their choice via SkipTheDishes to thank them for their tireless efforts. British Columbians can also show their appreciation, and support the province’s restaurant industry, by donating here until May 31. Every $25 raised will provide a meal to a health-care hero in communities where Molson Coors brews, including Chilliwack. SkipTheDishes has already raised the meal count by 2,800, donating $70,000.
With COVID-19 cancelling events, including graduation ceremonies, across the globe, a group of Canadian high-school grads has joined forces with the Student Life Network to arrange one mega online prom. The live-streamed #PromIsOn2020 event will have a lasting impact for youth in B.C. and across the country, raising money and mental health awareness for Kids Help Phone, the only 24/7 e–mental health service offering free, confidential nationwide support in English and French. For details on how to join the party, click here.
The Township’s economic development team recently launched a Buy Local – Open for Business directory. Staff, who have personally called hundreds of local businesses to see what’s open, plan to add more categories to this list of essential local companies, which spans food and beverage, grocery stores, pharmacies and animal, health and automotive services.
Rather than lay off its small team, the North Vancouver contractor has found a way to channel their work into community projects—by offering volunteer labour. So far, Twin Lions has helped a women’s resource centre with repairs and replaced kitchen cabinets and built wheelchair-accessible garden boxes for a disability resource centre.
Landing page platform Unbounce didn’t want software subscriptions and campaigns to be an extra cause of stress for mission-critical agencies and small businesses during COVID-19. So through June 1, the Vancouver-based company is offering a free three-month account to all nonprofit, health-care, educational and government organizations. Unbounce has also curated a set of resources to help small businesses pivot online and ramp up their digital marketing. And on Giving Tuesday (May 5), the tech outfit donated one-on-one conversion intelligence strategy sessions to its not-for-profit customers to help them optimize their landing pages and secure more donors and volunteers when they need them most.