The loss of a small business in cities like Toronto and Mississauga does not just mean bankruptcy and debt for the owners, it’s also the loss of incomes to all their employees which creates a ripple effect that hurts the entire community.
We can take heart knowing that for every story of tragedy there is another story of resilience. Communities are rallying in the most creative ways to support their local businesses, with Facebook groups, Raptors swag and with printed t-shirts.
Back in April, in Mississauga, celebrity Nav Bhatia used social media to raise $840,000 for the Mississauga Food Bank. Bhatia pledged to donate $1 with every repost on Twitter, and every like on Instagram, up to a total of $5,000. And everyone who pledged $1,000 or more will be rewarded with some Raptors “superfan swag,” like autographed basketballs, custom printed t-shirts and keychains.
Although not directly a fundraiser — but still a way to help financially support local business —a dedicated group of citizens in Scarborough created the Facebook group Scarborough Shops to encourage people to keep supporting their family-run businesses. Members share stories and recommendations, keeping the community spirit alive and businesses afloat during difficult times.
Toronto-based tech company, Buildable, recently designed the website distantly.ca to allow people to donate money directly to struggling businesses. All donations will go towards helping businesses that have been forced to close due to safety regulations, and helps them cover their costs of rent, payroll or other expenses until they are allowed to open again.
Toronto woman Logan Lass, has been creating and selling fun, homemade tie-dyed sweaters. All funds raised are dedicated to the purchase of personal protective equipment for staff, nurses and doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital. So far, she has been mostly selling sweaters and hoodies through her Instagram account @ColoursForCOVID, but her fans have been clamoring for more: Who knows, maybe pants, tie-dyed printed t-shirts and hats are in her future?
Another fundraiser, the NEWS 1130 Hearts and Smiles initiative, sells printed t-shirts, masks, or a combination pack of a printed t-shirt and mask, to the Frontline Fund. The printed t-shirts fundraiser for the Frontline Fund has been helping to keep our healthcare workers equipped with the gloves, masks and visors they need to stay safe.