As the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic comes to a close, British Columbians are considering ethical holiday gift ideas that not only support local businesses but also give humanity a hand up, and even save lives.
At Found Boutique in New Westminster, shoppers are choosing local products and helping change people’s lives with every purchase.
“You’re giving back to the community by having your stuff in here,” said S and K Collective founder Sam Sinclair.
As a Union Gospel Mission social enterprise, the store sells donated consignment items while showcasing the work of some thirty Canadian artisans including Sinclair, who owns an Indigenous and inclusive clothing business.
“You’re not just throwing your money at a big brand,” Sinclair told Global News.
“You’re thinking about where it’s going and how it’s affecting things in the world, people, everything.”
100 per cent of Found’s net revenue goes back into the community to help fund UGM social programs that support those struggling with poverty or addiction.
“To help other people exit homelessness, help other people enter treatment recovery programs,” said UGM spokesperson Nicole Mucci.
“There is no greater sense of a circular economy giving back than what you’re going to find at Found Boutique.”
On Granville Island, the co-owner of Upstart & Crow bookstore believes the stories on his shelves are timeless gifts that keep on giving.
“Books live sort of forever,” said Ian Gill.
Gill said reading is an experience at the local shop, which also serves as a literary arts studio, and he views books as the oldest and maybe most sustainable global technology.
“You can give a book away, you can hang on to a book, you can reuse a book.”
Every item in stock is curated carefully as Upstart & Crow specializes in content to inform people about what’s happening in their world — including Indigenous justice.
“It’s all part of developing the human spirit and the human mind in a good way,” Gill told Global News.
“You can’t do it without reading.”
Two years in to the COVID-19 crisis, the World Health Organization has stated that vaccine equity will accelerate the end of the global pandemic.
Based on the way the virus has mutated and changed over time and the emergence of the new Omicron variant, B.C.’s top doctor said we need to focus on immunizing other parts of the world.
“When you do that globally, the risk of having another mutation that’s different, that escapes viruses or spreads more quickly is going to go down dramatically,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday.
“We all need to be in this together,” Vancouver Infectious Diseases Centre medical director Dr. Brian Conway told Global News.
Canadians now have the opportunity to help the rest of the world get vaccinated — with a unique online gift option from UNICEF.
The COVID-19 Vaccines Delivery includes everything it takes to deliver two shots from the manufacturers to the arms of people in some of the world’s hardest to reach places.
“This sends such a powerful message,” said Conway.
“That we stand with everyone in the world that is living through the COVID pandemic, the same as we are, and perhaps not having the means to deal with it as effectively as we have in Canada.”
For $14.43 Canadian, UNICEF’s ‘survival gift’ will help ensure three people get their two doses. To make the donations go even further, the Fairmount Foundation will match each gift purchased, up to $100,000.
“This is making us all be part of the worldwide solution to the COVID pandemic,” said Conway.
“It’s a great initiative.”