A $30,000 grant from the Vancouver Foundation Community Response Fund has boosted the Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund to its $200,000 target. The grant is intended for rapid community response to support the needs of vulnerable populations.
Foundation Board Chair Brian Lawson says, “We are extremely grateful for the generous community response. Reaching this Emergency Fund goal enables the Foundation to continue to partner with donors and local charities to deal with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for the services of our non-profit organizations will undoubtedly increase as islanders experience loss of income and other challenges, including mental health issues, over the summer and beyond.”
The Foundation’s emergency fund has already distributed $113,687 to Salt Spring charities, including over $50,000 in food gift cards distributed via local charities to those in need in the community. This has been made possible through the generosity of Country Grocer and the Upper Ganges Liquor Store. Other major donations have come from the Foundation, Island Savings and the CRD, in addition to many individual donors.
Cathy Walker is assisting in the effort to distribute food cards through School District #64 and is impressed with how islanders are supporting each other. "One of the families at Fulford that is receiving food cards also has a garden market, so they have been donating fresh greens and veggies to add to the food cards for other Fulford families. It is a true give-and-take situation.”
The school district’s Educational Assistants have also been pitching in to help families receiving the food cards. Walker says, “During these times, some families with very young children are having trouble going to the grocery store. Our EA's have purchased groceries with the food cards and delivered them to homes. Every single family that has received food cards has said that the support is amazing and so appreciated during this very unusual and difficult time."
Recent emergency grants include an additional $10,000 to IWAV, for a total of $20,000 toward programs adversely affected by loss of revenue due to the continued closure of the Transitions Thrift Store. A Capital Regional District Grant-In-Aid has funded $5,000 of this amount. A grant of $3,000 has also been given to Island Natural Growers to cover half of the three-month part-time salary for coordination of the Salt
Spring Island Agricultural Response and Recovery Plan.
The Foundation hopes that the fund will continue to grow to meet anticipated needs. Donations to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund may be made at ssifoundation.ca or by mail to: Salt Spring Island Foundation, Box 244, Ganges PO, Salt Spring Island, BC, V8K 2V9. Please indicate on your cheque that the donation is to be directed to the COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
While the Salt Spring Island Foundation is assisting with needs in the wider community, the Foundation also encourages community members to support the Lady Minto Hospital directly at ladymintofoundation.com/covid-19.
The Foundation extends a special thank you to the Salt Spring Exchange and the Gulf Islands Driftwood for sharing news of our COVID-19 Emergency Fund.