In March 2020, Knix, a Toronto- based global intimates company, secured over $150,000 in community donations for their PPE Campaign in just 11 days. These donations financed the purchase of 200,000 units of certified masks and gloves which they donated to hospitals and clinics across the country. Through a collaboration with the Robert Kerr Foundation (RKF), a Toronto-based private foundation committed to addressing the basic and urgent needs to improve the lives of children and the homeless, the campaign expanded its reach to support a new group in need of PPE, the Greater Toronto Area’s (GTA) homeless shelters and drop-ins. The Robert Kerr Foundation committed $100,000 to the Knix/RKF PPE campaign and, to encourage other major donors to participate, chose to match an additional dollar for every dollar raised, up to $100,000. “People who experience homelessness are a vulnerable group. They live in environments conducive to infectious diseases, have exposed immune systems from underlying health conditions and are often transient, making it difficult to prevent transmission,” says Bri Trypuc, Executive Director of the Robert Kerr Foundation. “We are deeply concerned about infection rates and mortality among our vulnerable populations and of the frontline staff working tirelessly, at tremendous risk, to serve them. Prudent action to partner with the Knix PPE Campaign to help contain the virus that targets this population makes sense.” With numbers infected on the rise, and the RKF only a few short weeks away from having its own funding commitment depleted, the Scheinberg Relief Fund leveraged the match grant funding of the Foundation to secure the continuation of the project.
Donations provided jointly by the Scheinberg Relief Fund and the Robert Kerr Foundation have been used to purchase and distribute PPE weekly to around 85 homeless shelters, drop-ins and agencies city-wide, supplying what became “the most important and consistent PPE and emergency COVID relief response in the city of Toronto & GTA” as per independent survey assessment of the recipients of the project. The collaboration between Knix, the Robert Kerr Foundation and the Scheinberg Relief Fund ensured the demand for PPE within homeless shelters and drop-in programs during the first six months of the pandemic was met.