Tanelle Bolt

Tanelle Bolt

One ‘beer’ could go a long way for B.C. hospitality workers in need

Online campaign aims to help people like former Darcy's Pub staffer Tanelle Bolt

When was the last time you bought someone a beer? Well, the B.C. Hospitality Foundation is metaphorically allowing you to do just that from the comforts of your own home.

The foundation has launched an online campaign, Buy Ben A Beer, with the goal of raising $50,000. That money will go to help at least 10 Ben-eficiaries across the province who work in the hospitality industry.

West Shore resident and former Darcy’s Pub staff member Tanelle Bolt is one of the people the foundation has helped. At 27, an accident almost cost her her life. Jumping into the Gordon River in Port Renfrew, Bolt hit the water at a bad angle, breaking her T6 thoracic vertebrae and had to be air-lifted to Vancouver General Hospital. She suffered severe spinal damage and was given the prognosis of life in a wheelchair.

The community and her industry rallied their support and the foundation offered $10,000 to a matched fundraiser, and ultimately more than $20,000 was raised for her care. Now, she has started her own foundation to help athletes facing challenges from medical-related issues.

Funds raised through the Buy Ben a Beer campaign will help people like Bolt and be used to cover the cost of medical equipment, prescriptions, transportation to therapy or other medical appointments. It will also help cover shortfalls in areas such as housing, food or other expenses until they are able to return to the workforce.

“While many hospitality companies … do offer direct assistance to their employees through benefit programs or other support networks, there are often waiting periods before cheques arrive, or caps on benefit programs,” said Sujinder Juneja, BCHF communications manager.

“If a worker faces a health issue, is not able to work, and can’t afford to pay their rent or buy groceries, let alone pay for essential medication or therapy, what do they do then? Do they choose between rent, food, or medicine? This is where the BCHF steps in. We support those workers so they can focus on recovery and rehabilitation, rather than worrying about their bills. We are the safety net for the industry.”

While this campaign directly supports workers across the province, in the past more than 20 per cent of beneficiaries have lived on Vancouver Island. To learn more about the campaign, go to buybenabeer.com or bchospitalityfoundation.com.