Rapid Relief Fund to provide much-needed support for region’s most vulnerable residents

Victoria, B.C. – Today, the Victoria Foundation, the Times Colonist and the Jawl family have teamed up in an effort to raise $1 million for COVID-19 emergency relief in Greater Victoria.

The Rapid Relief Fund will initially support five vital local organizations addressing issues around food security, preventing homelessness, mental health support and accessing health care during these trying times.

The first $1 million raised for the Rapid Relief Fund will provide support to the Mustard Seed, the Stan Hagen Centre for Families, the Salvation Army Addiction and Rehabilitation Centre, the Food Share Network and the Coalition of Neighbourhood Houses Capital Region.

To kick start the fund, the Victoria Foundation has made an initial contribution of $250,000 and the Jawl family is donating $100,000. At the time of writing, the fund has reached nearly $625,000.

“The Victoria Foundation is proud to be a part of this unprecedented effort to provide support for those in most urgent need,” said Sandra Richardson, CEO. “We value partnerships in all we do, and together we can leverage our collective resources, expertise and community knowledge to ensure these funds meet the greatest need in our community in a timely manner.”

These partners are calling on local business, foundations. families, individuals, anyone and everyone who is able to, to make a contribution. All donations will receive a tax receipt and can be made online by credit card, as well as via cheque, PayPal, Interac e-Transfer (for donations over $5,000) or gifts of securities. All information and donation options can be found at RapidReliefFund.ca.

“This is an extraordinary time, unprecedented in our lives,” said Dave Obee, Times Colonist Editor-in-Chief and Publisher. “Many in the community are suffering. If we all work together, we can help one everyone get through this, and we will emerge stronger. The public response has been fantastic. It proves once again that Greater Victoria is a caring, compassionate place. We should all be proud to be part of this community.”

Once the initial $1 million goal is met, the campaign will continue and additional agencies will be funded to support ongoing needs and eventual recovery efforts.

“The breadth and immediacy of the current needs in our community are profound and many resource gaps exist,” said Robert Jawl of the Jawl Foundation. “Encouragingly, this past week has been filled with inspiring anecdotes of business, non-profits, governments and individuals cooperating and swinging into action like never before. This immediate and broad-based engagement conveys a clear and unequivocal message: We are in this together and we will get through this together.”