Credit: Courtesy of Kingsclere

Squamish-based Kingsclere is giving people the chance to gift 100 of its Little Black Bags

Our weekly series celebrates local organizations that are stepping up to help others

The past few months have been an eye-opening experience for people, companies and industries. Despite the harm done by COVID-19, it’s inspiring to see businesses come together to support each other. As B.C. takes steps to recover from the pandemic, we’re grateful to everyone who has supported our health-care professionals, food banks, small businesses and vulnerable individuals along the way. And as always, a big thank-you to the front-line and essential services workers who continue to keep our province running.

BC Housing Management Commission

Throughout COVID-19, BC Housing has joined forces with dozens of private sector organizations and more than 800 community housing groups to help hundreds of thousands of British Columbians. Via partnerships with the hotel industry, Vancouver-based sports and live entertainment company GSL Group, local governments and nonprofits, the provincial agency has secured some 2,900 spaces in hotels, motels and community facilities to give people safe places to stay. BC Housing also teamed up with catering companies such as Edge Catering, Compass Group Canada and Have Culinary Training Society (nonprofit housing societies turned to several others as well) to provide meals for residents without access to food. Shaw Communications and Telus Corp. have volunteered to deliver these meals, and Save-On-Foods has arranged bulk grocery purchases for transition homes. The BC Temporary Rental Supplement, managed by BC Housing with support from landlords, has helped more than 77,500 households having trouble paying rent due to COVID-19. You can learn more about these initiatives by visiting the BC Housing website.

Dragon Boat BC

The annual Dragon Boat Festival is usually a summer staple for Vancouverites, but when the pandemic prompted its cancellation, organizers channelled their energy into battling COVID-19. Dragon Boat BC has partnered with the Downtown Eastside Supply Hub to repurpose and redistribute excess supplies, such as 800 Clif Bars and 100 volunteer T-shirts, intended for its 2020 event. To that end, the group enlisted the Vancouver School Board’s District Fashion Program at Eric Hamber Secondary School, which is coordinating student and graduate volunteers to turn the shirts into about 700 face masks. To donate to the DTES Supply Hub or other community initiatives in Vancouver, click here.

First West Credit Union

First West Foundation, the philanthropic partner of First West Credit Union, has stepped up to meet the needs of B.C.’s charitable sector by launching its Community Response Fund. This fund will award $600,000 in community grants to charities served by First West’s divisions: Envision Financial, Enderby & District Financial, Island Savings and Valley First. The Community Response Fund will provide $500,000 to charitable organizations focused on food security and basic support for youth, families and seniors most impacted by COVID-19 in the regions that Langley-based First West serves. There’s also a Community Help Fund that will distribute $100,000, in the form of 200 grants worth $500 apiece, to registered charities that apply via social enterprise Do Some Good. Charities impacted by COVID-19 can apply for the Community Response Fund on the First West Foundation website.  

Girl Guides of Canada

Because so many events have been cancelled, girls and young women throughout B.C. are missing out on celebrating their achievements. Girl Guides of Canada’s B.C. Council represents more than 18,000 female members, many of whom face this challenge. So the group reached out some of the province’s top celebrities, smartest thinkers and strongest leaders to help (virtually) celebrate them with a special “grad party” video they can safely enjoy at home. Members of the B.C. business community who offered words of advice to girls in this uncertain time include Tamara Vrooman, incoming president and CEO of the Vancouver Airport Authority, and Tina Lee, CEO of T&T Supermarket, alongside VIPs like Premier John Horgan, provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and Global BC anchor Sophie Lui. You can watch the video here.


In response to the bad news surrounding COVID-19, Kingsclere aims to foster positivity and kindness by letting people gift 100 of its bestselling Little Black Bags (LBBs) as #PayBackPacks. The Squamish-based bag and backpack maker is encouraging everyone to recognize an exceptional person with a heartfelt social media post. By mentioning @KingsclereLife and #PayBackPack, followers can automatically nominate someone. Each week in June and July, Kingsclere will choose a dozen or so stellar folks and send them a free LBB. The company is extending the goodwill with a sitewide discount through promo code PayBackPack40.

Lower Mainland Wine Ninjas

It all began with a TikTok. Twenty members later, that same day, the Lower Mainland Wine Ninjas Facebook group officially had roots. Now more than 17,000 strong, this network and its administrative team—five friends from the Fraser Valley—are making an impact. The Wine Ninjas pride themselves on spreading “peace, love and wine” to those stuck indoors during COVID-19 isolation. The idea: drop off a bottle of wine or a small gift to unsuspecting neighbours or pals in a ding-dong-dash style. The best part? Ninjas and their “victims” post pictures and videos of the goodies to boost the spirits of all involved.

Main Street Brewing Co.

Although COVID-19 restrictions are loosening up, the hospitality industry faces a cloudy future. Now operating with a skeleton crew in this climate of uncertainty, Vancouver’s Main Street Brewing created a beer to help its employees: Helping Hand Lager, aka A Social Lager for Physical Distancing. All proceeds from this delicious brew, available on-site and at select partners, will go toward buying Fresh St. Market gift cards for staff.

ReFrame Group and Spark Creations

As the pandemic reshapes businesses and the economy, the importance of creating resilience through strong company culture has never been more important. With this in mind, group benefits and insurance provider ReFrame Group and consulting firm Spark Creations have launched the first BC Workplace Culture Scan Report, which includes a Culture Kit with B.C. statistics, top future trends and culture assessment tools. This free resource from the two Vancouver companies combines the knowledge of 30 B.C. workplaces and 500 culture leaders, summarizing their experiences in creating intentional cultures. To help get the job done, the report also shares useful info such as a practical definition of workplace culture, the return on investment for creating a strong culture and the top five culture themes from B.C. companies.

UBC students

By partnering with local businesses, three MBA students at UBC are giving B.C. residents a way to support the local community while browsing for products and services at Alltrue. The site, created by Rebecca Foley, Hari Mahadevan and Justin Murray, lets visitors participate in online auctions and raffles, with proceeds going to four food banks that are experiencing exceptional demand due to COVID-19. The goal is to bring everyone together by creating an online marketplace that encompasses businesses, charities and the community.


Vancouver-based web monitoring service Visualping has a wide range of applications, for tracking everything from Craigslist deals to legislative changes to software updates. But by late March, the team noticed that roughly 30 percent of the pages monitored by users were related to COVID-19. The searches were diverse, too: some people wanted information on school closures, some were on the lookout for cancelled flights, and others were following health researchers working toward a vaccine. So Visualping created a free customized widget that helps website owners keep visitors informed. The widget has since been adopted by organizations like Le regroupement Québécois des résidences pour aînés (the Quebec Association of Seniors’ Residences), which is using it to keep loved ones up-to-date on COVID. Learn how your business can benefit here.

If you know a B.C. business that is going above and beyond to help others during the pandemic, drop us a line! We’d love to feature them in this weekly series. Please email darian@jellymarketing.com