The Community rises to the occasion by donating 640 tents, tarps and sleeping bags to help the homeless

April 6, 2020 / by United Way

The Community rises to the occasion by donating 640 tents, tarps and sleeping bags to help the homeless

VICTORIA, BC – The  Greater Victoria community showed its local love on Saturday dropping off 166 tents, 240 sleeping bags, 109 tarps and 125 sleeping mats to the Neighbourhood Response Team so the homeless can self-isolate during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A safe physical distancing collection was held on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm in the parking lot of Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre. All materials are now being quarantined for 72 hours before they are distributed to people in need.

The Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness is coordinating the distribution.

The Neighbourhood Response Team is powered by United Way Greater Victoria in partnership with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Victoria and HeroWork Society.

“We want to thank everybody who dropped off items on Saturday,” said Mark Breslauer, CEO, United Way Greater Victoria. This is another example of extraordinary generosity during this pandemic. The ‘Neighbourhood’ truly responded.”

At this time, faced with so many challenges, Victoria once again proves they are a community who truly cares,” said Rhonda Brown Executive Director of Big Brothers Big Sisters. “Thank you to everyone who donated so generously and the many volunteers who helped with this truly Neighbourhood Response.”  

“We are proud to collaborate on this initiative that is helping the vulnerable and the homeless in our community,” said Paul Latour, Founder & CEO, HeroWork. “I also want to thank all of my volunteers.”

“I’d like to recognize the incredible collaborative work being done across the homelessness serving sector to support our vulnerable population experiencing homelessness during this challenging time,” said Kelly Roth, Executive Director, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.

Providing this kind of not-for-profit sector support has been made possible by United Way Greater Victorias Local Love in a Global Crisis Fund. This fund is targeting four areas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic: providing additional help to isolated seniors; mental health support services; helping the social service sector prioritize and deliver urgent needs; and providing hotel accommodation for essential service workers.

Thanks to event support from Castle Building Centre (Bay Street location); Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre, City of Victoria and Robbins Parking; Maximum Express; Soap for Hope; Sweenie Moving; United Rentals; and Victoria Distillery.


For more information, please contact:

Heather Skydt
Director, Marketing and Communications
United Way Greater Victoria
Cell: (250) 686-3606


Jennifer Young
Project and Content Manager
United Way Greater Victoria
Cell: (604) 309-3937

BACKGROUNDER: United Way unites” the generosity of people – business, government, labour and individual donors – with the skills, knowledge and expertise in the community to help ensure those in need reach their full potential. This collaborative approach is building a stronger, more resilient community to serve current and future generations. 

As one of the regions largest annual funders of local social service programs, we assist charitable organizations by identifying and funding programs to address immediate needs and underlying causes of our communitys most #UNIGNORABLE social challenges.

United Way is a year round fundraiser and community builder, and provides funding to create a strong and stable network of local services. For 83 years we have served the community and raised over $170 Million. Our work, as a community leader, is as relevant today as it ever was.  And with the ongoing support of our donors, we will continue to positively change lives.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Victoria has a 42-year history of serving children and youth across Southern Vancouver Island and the Southern Gulf Islands. They have been successful in providing mentors for children and youth through 7 different in-school or community mentoring programs which operate in response to identified social issues impacting specific communities.

Their mission is to enable life-changing mentoring relationships to ignite the power and potential of young people.” They believe in the power of collectively working towards common goals that benefit our community and its citizens.

HeroWork is a charity that renovates other charities because many non-profit buildings are run down and in need of repairs or upgrades. With renewed buildings charities have bigger impact, are more sustainable, and better serve vulnerable populations.

To date HeroWork has completed millions worth of non-profit renovations in the greater Victoria region. In a typical year HeroWork engages over 150 companies and 900 volunteers. Together they participate in huge community events through which comprehensive renovations are completed in a fraction of normal time and costs. HeroWork describes these events as modern-day barn raisings, calling them Radical Renovations.”