Best Buy Canada’s Geek Squad division has been helping seniors at care homes in B.C. stay in touch with family via video calls
Our weekly series celebrates organizations that are stepping up to help their community
As we enter phase two of the pandemic in B.C., there are signs that something resembling our old way of life might start to return. Although there will be safeguards in place for the foreseeable future, knowing we’re on the path to fewer restrictions helps take the edge off.
Despite these improvements, supporting small businesses, nonprofits and our communities remains the best way to move forward. With that in mind, keep sending us your stories of local businesses that are helping others. Thank you to all the essential workers and front-line staff who have been working tirelessly during these trying times!
Vancouver-based Aisle specializes in creating safe, effective, environmentally sound period products designed for comfort. With its HQ just steps from the Downtown Eastside, the company is acutely aware of the risk to the city’s most vulnerable residents during COVID-19. It didn’t take long for requests for cloth face masks to start filing in. Aisle had just rebranded and was facing its own challenges from the pandemic, but it made its first mask delivery in late March. Each mask comes with a user guide and a plastic bag for safe storage, and Aisle collaborated with doctors to ensure that the instructions were clear and effective, tweaking its design several times to ensure comfort and ease of use. Thanks to fundraising and a new buy-one-give-one program, more than 2,000 masks have made their way to those who need them most.
Concerned by the news that domestic violence is on the rise amid government-directed isolation measures, first-year BCIT computer systems technology student Mattias Henders participated and won his first hackathon. The #TogetherVsVirus Hackathon, organized by 25 postsecondary and industry partners across Canada, saw project lead Henders and his Team Spring Out create a mobile-based support platform for domestic abuse victims.
Meanwhile, BCIT engineering technology alumnus Joshua Bradshaw, president of Surrey-based Vital Manufacturing, has been researching protective equipment to help guard front-line workers against COVID-19. The result: the lightweight Cap Shield, which attaches to any standard ball cap or visor brim. Since its debut in late April, the response has been overwhelming. More than 15,000 units of the Cap Shield sold in the first week, and Vital is ramping up production to crank out 50,000 weekly.
Every year, local roaster Canterbury donates thousands of pounds of coffee to local charities, including Canuck Place and Food on the Corner. During COVID-19, the Burnaby-headquartered company has continued this generosity by reaching out to essential workplaces via social media. Through this effort, they’ve delivered more than 1,200 pounds of java in Vancouver and Victoria. Among the beneficiaries: local hospitals, the BC Centre for Disease Control, the BC SPCA, Canadian Blood Services, the Carnegie Community Centre, Richmond Public Health, Richmond’s Regional Animal Protection Society and Vancouver Firehall No. 9. If you know of an essential workplace that needs some high-quality caffeine, contact Canterbury.
Coast Capital recently launched a $400,000 Community Relief Fund to respond to the immediate needs of the province’s nonprofit sector and the credit union’s small business members that have suffered revenue loss from COVID-19. The fund’s nonprofit support focuses on front-line organizations that are facing unprecedented increases in demand related to food security, support for the homeless, mental health and employment resiliency. To date, it has supported a range of groups, including the Stigma-Free Society, Quest Food Exchange and Threshold Housing Society.
Burnaby-headquartered Best Buy Canada is connecting people with their loved ones by teaming up with Google to donate Google Nest Hub Max devices to 325 seniors living in care homes across Canada, giving them the ability to make video calls and share online content. Best Buy’s Geek Squad division is offering free tech support, with agents helping set up the gadgets and answering seniors’ questions via phone and video chat.
To encourage everyone to stay active at home during the pandemic, the B.C. branch of the gym franchise group is offering complimentary access to digital tools and workouts. Gold’s Gym British Columbia is also giving back to locally owned small business partners whose retail stores have been affected by COVID-19. For every new member referred, the company is buying a $25 gift card for Core Culture Langley, Elevate Fitness and Fuel Coquitlam.
Due to Covid-19, the travel tech company was unable to keep offering coding workshops through after-school programs in its hometown of Maple Ridge. So the B Corporation, whose Left Does Right charitable initiative includes giving staff unlimited time off for volunteering, moved its workshops online for all students to access at home. With help from code.org, Left will publish six weekly lessons on the fundamentals of coding. Check out the first two here.
Now that the outlet mall has officially reopened, it’s giving shoppers a chance to support their community at a time when many British Columbians don’t have enough to eat. McArthurGlen and the Richmond FC football club are hosting a no-contact food drive this Saturday and Sunday (May 23 and 24) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., with all donations going to the Richmond Food Bank. You can drop off nonperishable food items and toiletries at the main entrance.
Established by fishers who recognize the need for sustainable livelihoods, Organic Ocean is the supplier of choice for many chefs and restaurants. As COVID-19 hit, the B Corporation outfitted its crew with personal protective equipment and pivoted from supplying restaurants to contactless home delivery. Through Organic Ocean’s Neighbours Helping Neighbours online store, home cooks can buy premium seafood for the same wholesale prices that chefs pay. The company has also partnered with nonprofits to supply fish to the needy. Thanks to its initial donation, Goodly Foods Society provided 10,000 meals to residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Besides Vancouver, Organic Ocean is supporting food banks in Squamish and Toronto, two other markets for its seafood.
As the world reacts to the dramatic economic impact of the coronavirus, the digital activities of brands and consumers are rapidly shifting. Vancouver-based digital intelligence firm RightMetric—founded by Charlie Grinnell, one of our 2019 30 Under 30 winners—is offering free industry-specific insight reports that give a high-level look at what’s trending for brands and their audiences. The goal: actionable intelligence for marketing leaders during these uncertain times. To get a free insight report for your industry, check out RightMetric’s website.
The Abbotsford bakery has joined forces with two local peers, Daiya Foods and FreeYumm, to thank the workers who help keep shelves stocked across North America. As a show of appreciation, the three partners have given all of their production staff extra food.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org