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Dragon Boat BC paddles to the beat of the COVID community drum

By leveraging our partnerships and connections, we are privileged to have been able to help in the fight against COVID-19 – particularly in support of Vancouver’s most vulnerable populations, such as those in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside.

Dominic Lai, development, marketing, and operations director with Dragon Boat BC

May 29 2020 –

The Dragon Boat Festival is normally a highlight of Vancouver’s summer but COVID-19 means that this year organizers have had to put their paddle power behind a different purpose.

Dragon Boat BC has turned the cancellation of this year’s event into an opportunity to support pandemic response efforts in Vancouver.

Repurposing and redistributing event supplies

With an excess of supplies meant for its 2020 event, including 800 Clif Bars and 100 volunteer shirts, Dragon Boat BC is partnering with the Downtown Eastside Supply Hub to repurpose and redistribute the materials – including turning the t-shirts into masks.

“By leveraging our partnerships and connections, we are privileged to have been able to help in the fight against COVID-19 – particularly in support of Vancouver’s most vulnerable populations, such as those in Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside,” said Dominic Lai, development, marketing and operations director with Dragon Boat BC. 

“As part of the ancient Chinese rituals for the dragon boat festival, ceremonies were conducted to pray for diseases to quickly pass. Similarly, we hope that our contribution will convey our wishes for everyone to stay healthy and safe during these turbulent times.” 

Dragon Boat BC has partnered with the Vancouver School Board District Fashion Program at Eric Hamber Secondary School, which is coordinating student and graduate volunteers to break down volunteer t-shirts and re-purpose the raw materials into approximately 700 cloth masks. 

“There’s a lot of scrap and waste that goes along with the fashion industry, so it’s important to re-use and recycle existing fabrics wherever you can,” said Nina Ho, who teaches at Eric Hamber and coordinates the VSB District Fashion Program. 

“It’s this kind of work that helps teach kids that they can give back, and that they don’t need to spend money to give back.”

Donations to the DTES Supply Hub

Other donations to the DTES Supply Hub, which has been operating as the central location through which all non-profits and organizations helping vulnerable residents can access client-support materials, include: 

  • Bottled Water from Nestle Waters Canada
  • Reusable shaker cups and protein shakes from Vega
  • Two industrial-sized fridges from Silver Chef, expanding donation capacity to include greater quantities of cold-storage goods

Make a donation to the DTES Supply Hub or to other community initiatives