While all Canadians are facing stress and struggles because of the COVID-19 pandemic, citizens across the nation still responded generously to help hungry Canadians in need.
Food Banks Canada provided an update today (May 1), announcing that donations generated by the biggest multi-platform Canadian special Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble, broadcast on April 26, has raised over $8 million, which ranks among the biggest amounts from a charitable television special in Canada.
(By April 27, over 140,000 individuals had been reported to have already donated $6 million.)
The texting donations—$1.6 million over four days—is the highest amount raised by a text-to-donate channel in Canada.
“Although we have always known that Canadians are amongst the kindest people on earth and we hoped and planned for our neighbours’ generosity, we were brought to our knees with gratitude by the overwhelming caring of our communities across Canada,” Food Banks Canada chief executive officer Chris Hatch previously stated in a news release on April 27. “Our staff team voluntarily jumped on the phones as we were working through technical challenges. Nobody could have anticipated the numbers of generous souls inspired to give last night.”
Another record it achieved is that with over 12 million viewers (or one in three Canadians), It became the most-watched Canadian broadcast, outside of sports.
The 90-minute show involved 15 broadcasting groups, including Bell Media, CBC, Corus Entertainment, Rogers Sports and Media, and Groupe V Média, and was presented on TV, radio, streaming, and on-demand platforms.
Almost 100 famous Canadians, including singers, actors, artist, activists, athletes, and more offered stories and thanks to frontline workers.
Among the names linked to Vancouver or British Columbia who appeared include Bryan Adams, David Foster, David Suzuki, Eric McCormack, Jason Priestley, Michael Bublé, Rick Hansen, Ryan Reynolds, and Sarah McLachlan.
Other Canadians involved included Anne Murray, Barenaked Ladies, Céline Dion, Drake, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jann Arden, Margaret Atwood, Rick Mercer, Mike Myers, Bianca Andreescu, Cirque du Soleil, Chris Hadfield, Shania Twain, Robbie Roberston, the cast of Schitt’s Creek, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The show also featured the world premiere of ArtistsCAN’s multi-artist charity single, in which numerous performing artists collaborated on a group performance of “Lean on Me”.
The single was created by Tyler Shaw and Fefe Dobson to raise funds for the Canadian Red Cross, and featured Justin Bieber, Avril Lavigne, Serena Ryder, Geddy Lee, Bad Child, Walk Off the Earth, and more.
Food Banks Canada supports 3,000 food bank organizations across the nation. Funds raised by the special will be used for immediate support for food or essential items and changes in operations, including establishing alternative delivery systems. Food Banks Canada will also build reserves to prepare for any potential future increases in demand, such as if a post-COVID-19 recession occurs.
Donations are still being accepted for Food Banks Canada. To donate, text COVID to 30333 or visit the Food Banks Canada website until May 26.