VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Whitecaps have expanded their fundraising efforts during the pandemic to include the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
The MLS team has partnered with local artist Carson Ting who has created a piece of art titled "It Takes a Village" commemorating Vancouver's daily evening salute to health-care workers, first responders and other front-line workers.
Proceeds from every print sold will be go to the food bank.
"We wanted to pay tribute to front-line heroes of our city and we wanted to use our platform to raise money for those in need," said Jon Rees, the Whitecaps director of events and fan experience.
The print features B.C. provincial health officer Bonnie Henry and sign-language interpreter Nigel Howard, who have been front and centre in B.C. since the pandemic began. Local celebrities Ryan Reynolds, Seth Rogen and Steve Nash can also be spotted in the artwork.
"I'm truly honoured to be part of this," said Ting.
"The Whitecaps sold more than 500 prints in the first eight hours they went on sale Friday, raising more than $25,000 including a donation of $10,000 from B.C.-based NUTRL Vodka for one art piece.
Helping in the fundraising efforts are local production company Kindred & Scout, Hemlock Printers and Hemlock Harling and Phillips Brewing & Malting Co., among others.
The Whitecaps have also joined forces with the Vancouver Aquarium, selling more than 90,000 face masks in a week to raise funds for the financially troubled tourist attraction.
The aquarium, a not-for-profit operation, closed March 17 because of the pandemic and is struggling to survive with more than 60 per cent of its staff temporarily laid off.
Lasse Gustavsson, president and CEO of the Ocean Wise Conservation Association which operates the aquarium, says the aquarium needs at least $1 million a month to survive.
The prints can be purchased at www.whitecapsfc.com/ittakesavillage for a minimum of $30 plus tax and shipping.
The face masks are available on the websites of the Vancouver Aquarium (www.vanaquashop.org) and the Whitecaps (www.whitecapsfc.com).
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 1, 2020.
The Canadian Press