Over $50,000 has been donated by the City of Campbell River and the Strathcona Regional District to the Campbell River Community Foundation’s COVID Relief fundraising drive.
The foundation launched the drive in late March, with the goal of raising $100,000 to support local charitable organizations and to provide COVID-19 relief to households within the local school district. By May 1, the foundation exceeded that goal, having raised $162,330.
“Throughout our region, people are doing their best to make the adjustments necessary to help keep each other safe, and this has had major impacts on local businesses and people ability to earn a living,” said SRD chair Michele Babchuk.
The SRD contributed $30,000 to the program, with a supplemental $2,500 from Electoral Area D. The city donated $20,000 to the cause. Other donations were from We Wai Kum ($2,500), and $30,000 from the Community Foundation. The rest of the funding has come from individual donors.
Three grants have already been given, including $5,000 to the John Howard Society of North Vancouver Island for food gift cards to distribute to people in need. A second grant was to the Campbell River Hospice Society, for $16,500 to continue operations for the next four months. The hospice’s regular fundraising events have been cancelled. The third grant was to Campbell River Family Services, for $10,000 to the Babies Best Chance program, which provides counselling, housing and personal supplies. This support includes a doubling for the next four months of the normally $10 food gift card that goes to helping purchase healthy food.
Other recipients include the Campbell River Salvation Army, for $5,000 to go toward the lunch program, the Vancouver Island Branch of the Canadian Cancer Society for $5,000 to help cancer victims from the area receive treatment in Victoria, and the North Island Transition Society for $5,000 to provide bag lunches to vulnerable women in Campbell River and to reopen showers for women in the streets after these facilities were closed due to the virus.
“The local non-profits who we turn to for help are struggling to assist for many reasons. In some cases, donations are down because businesses are not in a position to contribute. In some cases, these societies have lost volunteers or can’t raise funds by holding their popular events because of physical distancing requirements,” said foundation president and chair Craig Gillis. “We want to provide funding to bridge the gap for these local organizations so they can continue to help the people who need it most. We’re talking basics like food, clothing and shelter.”
Fundraising will continue. The foundation has reached out to around 20 local non-profits to complete an online application form to help assess the needs in the community. The groups who have applied provide services to a variety of vulnerable people, including seniors, families, newly unemployed and those dealing with housing insecurity.
“Campbell River has a long history of neighbours supporting neighbours, with the virus creating so much hardship for so many people and complicating our ability to help out in person, we’re directly supporting the people who are helping the members of our community most in need,” says Mayor Andy Adams. “We’re all in this together, but some of us need more help to make it through.”
Donations can be made at http://www.crfoundation.ca.