While businesses are among some of the hardest hit during the pandemic, many are doing what they can to give back to the community.
The Victoria Rapid Relief Fund started with a $1 million goal and quickly surpassed that. Now the fund has almost reached $5 million, with more than $50,000 in donations being matched by Thrifty Foods to help support various organizations throughout the region.
Rasool Rayani, owner of Heart Pharmacy, says the immense support from businesses and individuals within the community is the “silver lining” of the pandemic. Rayani describes how the pharmacy saw a surge in business as the pandemic hit and people stocked up on items but has since seen a steady slow as more people practice social distancing.
For every transaction, up to $50,000, Heart Pharmacy gave $1 to the Rapid Relief Fund. “We recognized as an essential service we could still be in operation, and this seemed like a great way to support the community,” says Rayani.
Rajiv Gandhi, a partner at Cox Taylor Barristers Solicitors, says that while a number of employees weren’t directly compromised, many of them have relatives who have compromising factors meaning at least two-thirds of the staff are now working from home.
“So we’re suffering from that end, at the same time businesses around Victoria have closed … and [when they close] they don’t come to us for help. If they don’t come to us for help we can’t generate revenue,” says Gandhi.
Cox Taylor Barristers Solicitors made a donation of $10,000 to the Rapid Relief Fund.
“From our perspective, everyone in town is reeling from the physical, emotional and social impact of the virus and we know there are people who are in worse shape than us. … It’s not a large contribution but at the end of the day this is our home too,” he says.
Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation, calls the generosity of businesses in Victoria “overwhelming,” adding that donors are looking for a meaningful way to support the community.
“Many have also said to me how they want to be able to look back on this time and know that they played a part in helping our community weather this storm. Although I have always felt we have some of the most incredible business people in this region, I have to say that I’m so impressed with the way businesses have stepped up,” she says.
To make a donation to the Rapid Relief Fund visit victoriafoundation.bc.ca/rapid-relief-fund.