Vancouver community raises over $27K for urgent coronavirus "survival fund"

Mar 23 2020, 3:20 pm

A Vancouver Facebook group created to support the community during the COVID-19 pandemic has helped raise over $27,000 of direct financial aid for those currently in need.

COVID-19 Coming Together – Vancouver was created just over a week ago to help Metro Vancouverites with critical needs for groceries, supplies, and financial relief. The group has grown rapidly and to date, is made up of over 27,000 members.

In just a few days, Coming Together Vancouver has also managed to raise thousands of dollars via GoFundMe to distribute to individuals requiring immediate financial aid. Both the Facebook group and fundraiser were inspired by successful efforts by the Seattle Mutual Aid Solidarity Network.

In a statement, Yolanda Clatworthy, one of the Vancouver group’s organizers, says the need for immediate financial relief for is urgent.

“Our community cannot wait until April for government relief funding — people need to buy food and pay their bills today,” stated Clatworthy.

Coming Together Vancouver says people and families can apply for the financial aid (limit $100 per request) online.

The applications will be screened by a group of volunteers and the money will be prioritized for those who are most vulnerable. The funds will be distributed via eTransfer or in cash through neighbourhood houses for individuals who do not have access to banking.

Clatworthy says the group’s goal “is to fill the immediate gap and to get people funds as quickly as possible.”

“We hope that only those with real, urgent needs will apply to receive financial aid, while we are also relying on Vancouver’s generosity to help us meet our target of $100,000,” she stated.

On Monday, the provincial government announced a $5 billion economic action plan for British Columbians, which includes tax-free $1,000 payment to British Columbians whose ability to work has been affected by COVID-19. However, in a statement, Finance Minister Carole James hinted the government hopes to “get the funding flowing by May.”

More information regarding the Survival Fund can be found online. To donate, visit the group’s GoFundMe page.