12 B.C. businesses doing good during COVID-19: Sharing food, free photo shoots and much more

Our series celebrates local companies that are stepping up to help others during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Credit: Courtesy of Nature’s Path

Nature‘s Path delivered food to staff at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver

Our series celebrates local companies that are stepping up to help others

It’s been several weeks since COVID-19 shut down countless businesses here in B.C. and across the globe. Although the months ahead look unpredictable, we can reflect on the good things that companies have been doing for others during a time of crisis.

Since I started this series, my inbox has overflowed with stories of local businesses that are going out of their way to support the community. Here are just a few more examples of how they’re making life better for front-line workers and those in need.

A Better Life Foundation and Emelle’s Catering

A Better Life Foundation, in partnership with Atira Women’s Resource Society and BC Housing, is supporting vulnerable residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside through its daily meal service. Because many recipients no longer have access to other food, the foundation has boosted its output from 1,000 to 1,500 meals a day. ABLF is also providing 55 meals each day to paramedics. Vancouver-based Emelle’s Catering, which was planning for one of its busiest summers in 20 years, may have had to shut down—but it kept its heart open. After sending staff home with bags full of perishable food, the company fed the Downtown Eastside with homemade soup and other goodies from its freezer.

Anastasia Photography

This month, Pemberton-based photographer Anastasia Chomlack began offering the One for One Gratitude Photo Sessions, which gave a complimentary shoot to a local essential worker and their family each time someone bought a gift certificate. The sessions, now fully booked, will take place after social distancing measures are lifted.

IoT Design Shop

With its 3D printers, computer numerical control (CNC) machines and laser-cutting capability, this Coquitlam workshop is normally a centre for product development and rapid prototyping. But when the BC COVID-19 3D Printing Group put out an urgent call for digital fabricators to help make personal protective equipment (PPE) for front-line workers, the IoT Design Shop pivoted to churning out face shields and other gear. To date, the group has delivered more 4,000 face shields to local institutions. Learn more here.


The Vancouver Island startup, which makes organic and pesticide- and chlorine-free period pads, aims to end “period poverty” by donating one product for each one it sells. During the pandemic, Canadians can sponsor Joni’s Do Good Box. Every $200 donated buys 600 pads for transition homes, food banks, shelters and other organizations that need them.


Lyft’s Vancouver office is working with local groups to provide access to transportation. The company has been giving ride credit to Greater Vancouver Food Bank and Surrey Food Bank volunteers and to nonprofit Fresh Roots, whose staff are delivering meals to families in need. It’s also teamed up with the Canadian Cancer Society to get patients to treatment. Read more about how Lyft is supporting the community on its blog.

Nature’s Path

The Richmond-based organic food manufacturer dropped off a variety of products at St. Paul’s Hospital, providing nourishment to some 1,500 Providence Health medical professionals and other staff at two hospitals and four long-term care homes supported by the St. Paul’s Foundation. Nature’s Path is also giving $2.5 million worth of food to charities, hospitals and community groups throughout Canada and the U.S. The company has already donated 80,000 pounds to more than 60 organizations.

Oakwyn Realty

In response to COVID-19, the Vancouver real estate brokerage has launched #OakwynAtHome, a virtual hub to help you make the most of social isolation. A compilation of the best services and activities in the city and beyond, the blog spans online health and fitness, webinars and education, home delivery, productivity tips and good news from the community.

Organika Health Products

Organika, which specializes in natural health solutions, has given 18,000 of its new collagen cookie snacks to front-line workers, for a total donation value of $30,000. Aaron and Jordan Chin, the Richmond-headquartered company’s CEO and president, delivered the treats to workplaces all over Metro Vancouver. Through the Bee Strong Frontline campaign, Organika is giving those on the front lines in B.C. and across Canada an opportunity to receive a free bottle of its Bee Propolis, while supplies last.

Peak Resilience and Starling Minds

Two Vancouver companies are offering free help for those feeling anxious during the pandemic. Counselling practice Peak Resilience has launched an online COVID-19 support group, and founder Jennifer Hollinshead has been sharing the details of running such an operation with business professionals in the hope that they will follow suit. Starling Minds has made its confidential digital stress and anxiety management program available to everyone, from laid-off workers to their extended family.


Through its new Stay Home program, the online grocery delivery service donates a portion of proceeds from each food box sold to front-line workers and organizations supporting at-risk community members. In its hometown of Vancouver and in Calgary, SPUD gives both groups the chance to buy its boxes at cost, too. To apply for or to support the program, click here