The response to Greater Victoria’s Rapid Relief Fund is now inspiring the Nanaimo Foundation to launch a fundraising drive to help charities hit hard by COVID-19.

Its goal is to raise half-a-million dollars and there have already been some generous donations.

At the Nanaimo 7-10 Club, operations have shifted to deal with the pandemic.

People now line-up down the street and enter one at a time before washing their hands and picking up a coffee, bagged lunch and soup.

Organizers say running the volunteer service, that helps up to 160 people daily, has become more difficult

“We had a good complement of volunteers until COVID but a lot of our volunteers are older,” said Tim Mcgrath with the 7-10 Club.

“They have spouses with issues whether it’s acute asthma or COPD and they just can’t take the risk.”

And sustained funding was a challenge even before the COVID-19 outbreak.

Enter the Nanaimo Community Foundation.

“We’ve created a community response fund to help get funds out into the community quickly to support the urgent needs that have come arising due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve received a lot of requests from local organizations,” said Laurie Bienhert.

After seeing the success of the Victoria Foundation that raised in excess of a million dollars in a weekend, it’s launched a campaign to raise half a million with a $100,000 coming from their donors and the Tom Harris Foundation giving another $50,000.

“The top priorities of the fund right now are food security for vulnerable community members, helping vulnerable and isolated senior citizens and housing needs for low-income families,” said

Those at the 7-10 club are hoping to tap into the funding.

“It’s a great initiative. I’m really happy to see the Nanaimo foundation step forward to help us out in times like this,” said McGrath.

A community effort to ensure the regions vulnerable get help during these unusual times.

You can donate to the Nanaimo Foundation Community Response Fund here. 

Kendall Hanson