Island fund to generate protective gear

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Salt Spring Island Foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Relief Fund has seen impressive buy-in from donors in the short time since it launched on March 26 and has just as rapidly turned those funds back in to the community.

The fund reached $130,114 in under a week, with a target of $200,000 set. As of Monday the foundation had already distributed $26,633 to local organizations.

“We have received many applications for COVID-19 relief from our local charities and are working to distribute the funds as quickly as possible. We know community charitable initiatives in response to the emergency will really make use of the new targeted amount,” foundation board chair Brian Lawson said in a statement.

Grants from the fund will focus on community health-care preparedness, relief or assistance for vulnerable people such as seniors, and other pressing community needs as they emerge. 

The initial granting round has enabled an important project spearheaded by the Salt Spring Community Health Society and Salt Spring Chapter, Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice. The foundation granted $14,550 for the manufacture of face shields, isolation gowns and alcohol sanitizer. The Lady Minto Hospital Foundation is contributing a matching $14,550 for a total of $29,100. 

“COVID-19 cases have been identified in the Gulf Islands and massive local activities are underway to prepare healthcare organizations and practitioners to provide prevention, diagnosis and treatment for affected members of the community,” said Dr. Manya Sadouski, physician lead for the Salt Spring Chapter, Rural and Remote Division of Family Practice. “The use of personal protective equipment is essential to the safe provision of this care, but worldwide shortages extend to British Columbia and Salt Spring. On behalf of both our organizations, we are grateful for this funding.”

Face shields are being made by local companies. Mentors from Gulf Islands Secondary School’s Cyber Scorpions robotics club are also making face shields with 3D printers as part of the Plan-C Covid Corvid group.

Organizations that would like to access the personal protective gear being produced are asked to fill out the PPE Need Form here.

Other groups that have received COVID emergency funds from the Salt Spring Foundation are the Gulf Islands Seniors Residence Association, with $583 for safety equipment. 

Salt Spring Community Services received $6,071 to help provide access to basic needs for the homeless. This includes laundry, showers and other personal hygiene requirements, emergency food, access to internet and phone, connections to Housing First caseworkers and staff support. As well, Community Services’ Harvest Farm Coordinator Project received $5,500 to increase its food production and to coordinate with the agricultural community.

The foundation is inviting immediate applications from charities. For full information, visit ssifoundation.ca or contact operations director Shannon Cowan at shannon@ssifoundation.ca. 

Contact ssifoundation.ca to make a donation.

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