The Business of Hope During COVID-19

Vancouver Businesses Donate to Help People in Need

In the midst of hardship, we know it’s still possible – and essential – to maintain hope. I know, I know, how can we possibly say that while stores are boarded up, livelihoods are put into question, and everyone is struggling? While all completely true, this pandemic is most definitely also bringing out the best in people – especially business-minded entrepreneurs and professionals who are now conduits of something that the world needs now, more than ever: hope. 

Here at Union Gospel Mission we’ve seen some incredible and inspirational acts of generosity and kindness from businesses who are ‘giving where they’re living.’ This needs to be celebrated! Here are 6 local organizations shining beacons of hope into our current storm:

1. Securing Up our Front Lines: Rogers Sugar/Lantic

UGM outreach worker giving out hand sanitizer donated from businesses to guest.

Usually tasked with keeping your shelves stocked with sweets, Rogers Sugar/Lantic displayed their sugary sweetness by donating a staggering amount of personal protective gear to our frontline workers – 3000 masks, 300 protective suits, 300 protective glasses, 300 tubes of alcohol gel, and a 200L barrel of hand sanitizer. This literal mountain of PPE will help our frontline staff continue providing essential meals and shelter to our guests while protecting everyone from any further spread of the virus! To top it all off, they also gave practical support for our community meals and family food hampers that will go such a long way.

2. Showering the Community in Kindness: LUSH

Shampoo Donation from Businesses

Trust us, more soap is definitely great to have when everyone is being told to wash their hands! Thankfully the people at LUSH used their inventory to thoughtfully bless our DTES community. They donated 1344 bottles of shower gel to provide to our guests. It’s those little extras that can really make a person feel valued, especially during this time. 

3. Face Shields Forged in 3D Printers: Industrial Pixel VFX 

Business Donate Face Shield Protection

Though Industrial Pixel Visual Effects normally makes visual effects products for the entertainment industry, they took their business to a new level after being inspired by a news story of a business who repurposed their 3D printers to make face shields. In a flash they mobilized their team of designers and engineers to creatively design and source the materials to make 22 face shields that will be used by our frontline staff who are tirelessly serving our community and keeping them safe. 

4. Distanced ‘Doorstep Family Portraits’: Beloved Films

Vancouver businesses donate portrait photography to fundraise for UGM


When a local photography business just does what they do best – be creative – the result has incredible impacts on our community. Beloved Films was inspired to start their #photosformeals fundraiser, taking front door COVID-19 family portrait sessions by donation to UGM, supporting our essential meal programs. They have exceeded their goal of giving families a chance to raise $2000 to support people who are struggling during this challenging season and they’re still going! 

5. Grab a Bowl of Goodness: Bovine Rice Bowls

Restaurant Businesses Donate Food

When local Vancouver restaurant, Bovine Rice Bowls, had to sadly temporarily close-up shop due to social distancing restrictions, they made the best out of a heartbreaking situation. They offered people to just ‘grab a bowl’ of their delicious Japanese creations by donation to UGM. They raised over $800 to provide daily meals to people who are hit hardest by COVID-19.

6. Collaborative Meals Network: SRO Food Distribution Operation

Vancouver Businesses and Organizations working together to help people in need.

Challenging times calls for collective, creative and coordinated collaborations to make change possible! A never-seen-before partnership has mobilized to provide a meal delivery service for people living in DTES Single Room Occupancy hotels (SROs). It fills a major need in the community by delivering a whopping 1100+ meals, 7 days a week to people who would otherwise need to run the risk of leaving their rooms to get meals every day. 

To pull this all off, it’s taken the teamwork of non-profits, social enterprises, companies, community organizations, local government and the film industry: Potluck Cafe and Catering, Wildebeest Restaurant, Goodly Foods, UGM, HAVE Cafe, Teamsters Union, Telus, Community Impact Real Estate Society (CIRES), Central City Foundation, and the City of Vancouver working alongside the DTES SRO Collaborative.

We are so incredibly grateful to have such inspirational local businesses who are champions of hope reaching out to support our community in the midst of such a challenging time. This is a prime example of a true Vancouverite spirit – creative, innovative, and here for each other no matter what. 

We know that good will come out of this dark time! As one of our own UGM staff reflected, they feel “optimistic and hopeful about the unprecedented cooperation and coordination between every sector of society that can truly save the lives of vulnerable people on the DTES during this crisis and beyond.”

So come and be an integral part of spreading love and critical relief to our community during this COVID-19 pandemic with us! And if you would like to get involved as a business, please reach out to our Corporate Team at [email protected].

Written By: Rachael Allen