Protecting the most at-risk citizens, including low-income residents, many of whom are seniors or have health conditions, from the COVID-19 virus is essential for ensuring the health of the entire city.
Accordingly, the City of Vancouver is asking for help in providing these citizens with hygienic supplies and other items.
Earlier this week, the city announced it was in need of donations of take-out containers, disposable cutlery, food packaging, and bottled water for distribution to people in the Downtown Eastside who are facing difficulties finding food and water.
So far, Give a Hand Vancouver, a website that coordinates donations to the city, has received donated water bottles from the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Comet Warehousing, Townline Homes, and Nando’s (Davie Street location).
Meanwhile, the city and its partners are assembling personal care kits for 500 people living in single-room occupancy hotels (SROs), where individuals share kitchens and bathrooms, and are seeking donated items for 3,500 more kits so that residents can protect themselves and others.
Items needed for the kits are personal-sized soap, disinfectants, gloves, paper towels, and masks.
Vancouver-based Lush Cosmetics had previously donated 15,000 bars of soap for at-risk residents.
“Working with [the] City allowed us to get products to those most in need as quickly as possible, and we would encourage all businesses with needed supplies to donate what they can,” Lush Cosmetics charitable giving manager Tricia Stevens stated in a news release.
Anyone interested in donating can visit the Give a Hand Vancouver website.
Among the donations that Give a Hand Vancouver has received thus far include masks from the Chinese Benevolent Association of Vancouver and the Guangdong Community Association of Canada; hand sanitizer bottles and sewn cloth masks from Heiky Kwan and her Hong Kong friends; over 800 cellphone donations from Telus, Bell, and Roger for non-profits and vulnerable residents; and digital and creative services from Victory Creative Co.
On April 18, Downtown Eastside activists drew attention to the struggles that homeless people are facing during the pandemic by forming an encampment at Lord Strathcona School.