Sandra Richardson: Citizens step up in time of need

What a difference a day makes. It’s a cliché, but I’m not sure I’ve ever been more aware of how true it can be. And what we’re finding during these troubled times is that it works in both directions, both for the worse and for the better.

Only a couple of weeks ago, we got a taste of how it works for the worse. All of a sudden, businesses were closing, professional sports were coming to a halt, conferences were being cancelled and everyone was being encouraged to go home and stay home. What a difference a day made.

Then followed the change for the better. While the fears and precautions surrounding this pandemic remain, the response from our community to this crisis has been nothing short of awe-inspiring. Knowing we had to help in some way, when the opportunity came along to partner with the Times Colonist and the Jawl family to raise funds for charities helping our most vulnerable residents during this time, we jumped at it. In no time flat we had launched the Rapid Relief Fund, and in under 48 hours had reached our first goal of raising $1 million. What a difference a day makes.

We have now passed $2 million, largely due to a group of entrepreneurs who have joined forces to pool together $355,000 that they challenged the community to turn into $710,000 by matching their donation. We made that goal with more than 48 hours to spare, boosting the fund above the $2 million mark.

I encourage you to donate to the fund and continue to help our community during this crisis.

I’d like to take this opportunity to personally thank all those who have helped make the fund such a success, from the large funders who helped kick off the giving or put forth other substantial gifts, to each and every family and individual who has given what they can, no matter how small. You should be proud of yourselves and proud to live in a community such as this, where we come together in tough times to help each other out. I know I am.

It’s not over. There is much uncertainty over what the future holds. Just how trying these times will prove to be remains unknown. Who knows what difference a day could make. But I for one feel better knowing that whatever comes, we will face it together, and help each other out. We’re already seeing it happen and I am confident it will continue.

Our vision at the Victoria Foundation is to help foster a caring community for all.

Judging by these last few days, I’d say we’re well on our way.

To learn more about the Rapid Relief Fund, and to donate, please visit

Originally printed in the Times Colonist on March 29. The Rapid Relief Fund now sits at over $3.2 million.