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Labatt Provides 233,000 Cans of Water to Homeless in Response to Covid-19 Crisis

While the world has collectively come to blows with the effects of the Covid-19 crisis, the counter-response by both individuals and businesses to assist their fellow man have offered great relief. Among those corporations paving the way to help are—probably unsurprisingly—Labatt Brewing Company. Labatt Brewing Company donated truckloads of canned drinking water to be distributed along with take-away meals for the homeless.

Labatt has been notable for their services to Canada in times of need under their Labatt Disaster Relief Programme, established in 2012. Since then, they have donated canned water for first responders and the community in the wake of various emergency conditions, and recently so, considering the wildfires in Alberta in 2016 and the flooding along the Saint John River in New Brunswick and 2018, donating between 100,000 and 200,000 cans of water for each disaster, according to the need. So far, Labatt has exceeded that by donating 233,000 of the cans to the City of Toronto for Covid-19 relief alone, the company reported via Twitter on Sunday, April 26th.

Labatt Brewing Company donated truckloads of canned drinking water
Labatt employees volunteer to load cases of donated water for delivery in Alberta, Canada. Image Credit: Labatt Brewing Company.

The need for canned water at this time comes with the need for single use disposable drinking water to compliment the take-away meal services for the homeless by the City of Toronto. The cans help prevent the spread of the virus by limiting drinking from public water fountains. Toronto Mayor John Tory publicly responded to the donation saying, “The support of private partners like Labatt have helped our City in our non-stop efforts to respond to this emergency – to protect the health of residents and save lives.”

Labatt Brewing Company donated truckloads of canned drinking water, but their services haven’t stopped there. With the help of their sponsors and generous donations, Labatt helps in other ways, including providing more than 50,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for Food Bank Canada as an immediate response to the effects of the virus. In addition to providing much needed supplies, their outreach and employees make up a team of volunteers who distribute the units.

The encouragement to take away from this news is that there are unique responses in the state of emergency crises, various skills and available goods, and most importantly the people who are willing to lend a helping hand in times of need. Communities across the globe are suffering—some from COVID-19, but most from the actions of their governments—and there are those who provide relief out of mere kindness and empathy.

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Dolly Parton Donated 130 Million Books to Children

Dolly Parton donated 130 million books to children, and the number continues to climb. As an award-winning singer and songwriter, Parton is well known for her work in the entertainment industry. But she’s less well known for her philanthropic work—especially when it comes to books.


Parton was born in a one-room cabin in Tennessee, the fourth of 12 children. She described her family as “dirt poor,” and although her father was business savvy he could neither read nor write. As Parton achieved more and more success, she began to think of ways to help others, particularly in poor rural areas like where she grew up.


As Parton said, “When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams…The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.” And so in 1995, she launched Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in her childhood home of Sevier County, Tennessee.

Dolly Parton Donated 130 Million Books to Children
Parton said “It is an honor for me to share the incredible talent of these authors and illustrators. They make us smile, they make us laugh and they make us think.” Image credit: Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

The idea for the Library was simple: because a lot of families don’t have the means to purchase books, each child who joins the program is mailed an age-appropriate book every month from birth to five years. If the parents sign the child up right after birth, that’s a total of 60 books by the time the child turns six. And multiple children from the same family can sign up—meaning that a four-child family could potentially receive 240 free books, and a 12-child family like the one Parton grew up in could receive a staggering 720 free books.

Families responded to Parton’s generosity. By 2003, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library had mailed one million books. In 2004, the program expanded to the entire state of Tennessee. Nationwide coverage followed soon after. The program launched in Canada in 2006 followed by the United Kingdom in 2007, Australia in 2013 and the Republic of Ireland in 2019. With growth like that, it’s no wonder Dolly Parton donated 130 million books to children.

"I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love.”

As government lockdowns during the coronavirus crisis drag on, Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library has started a new program of weekly bedtime story videos. “Goodnight With Dolly” launched on 2 April, with Parton herself reading the books. Regarding this new program, Parton said: “This is something I have been wanting to do for quite a while, but the timing never felt quite right. I think it is pretty clear that now is the time to share a story and to share some love.” She couldn’t be more right, and during this crisis people all over the world are willingly helping each other.


One of the objections often raised to a purely voluntary society is that not enough people will voluntarily pay for things like public libraries, and so poor children will never be able to read books. As of this writing, there are over 1.5 million children registered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, and over 133 million books have been mailed. Parton’s amazing example not only shows that there are other methods to meet literary needs than the archaic model of the public library, but that those needs can be met by people acting voluntarily.

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Private Entities are Combating Government Enforced Boredom

The government’s belated response to the coronavirus has been to force everyone they can to stay indoors—sometimes at gunpoint. In addition to the economic impact, many people are getting a serious case of cabin fever. People stuck at home need something to do before they start weaving baskets. But as usual, voluntary efforts take over when the state fails, and private entities are combating government enforced boredom. There are too many people helping to count, but here is a quick rundown of some highlights of the efforts being made.

In addition to donating millions of dollars to medical coronavirus relief efforts, Amazon has made much of its family-friendly movies and TV shows available for free, including classics like Arthur and Reading Rainbow. They have also altered their Audible audiobook streaming service to make hundreds of titles in multiple languages available to listeners for free—even such apropos titles as “Brave New World” and “Atlas Shrugged.”

Amazon is far from the only player in the digital media industry. Not to be outdone, Apple has added a limited-time “Free Books” section to its Apple Books app. Nonprofits are not being left behind. The non-profit online library Internet Archive has created a National Emergency Library where books can be read without the main site’s lending restrictions.

Pokemon Go is a game beloved by millions across the world. Unfortunately one of the main mechanisms in the game is walking around outside—a great form of exercise that, in some areas, the government will arrest you for nowadays. But the creator of Pokemon Go have altered the game’s mechanics temporarily to make it possible to catch Pokemon easily from your home and making it easier to interact with other players—even giving away free in-game items.

Private Coronavirus Relief is Better than Government
"We are committed to the safety and well-being of our community," the development team of PokemonGo said.

Individual creatives are also acting to meet the mental and emotional needs of people imprisoned in their own homes by the government. Award-winning children’s artist Mo Willems is holding virtual “lunch doodle” sessions from his home. Using the hashtag #OperationStoryTime, authors of children’s books are using social media to provide free readings of their books for families. You can even find Julie Borowski reading her modern classic “Nobody Knows How To Make A Pizza,” and Connor Boyack reading “The Creature from Jekyll Island” from his Tuttle Twins series.

Neither are the finer aspects of entertainment being left out. World-renowned actor Sir Patrick Stewart is tweeting out daily readings of Shakespeare’s sonnets. “When I was a child in the 1940s, my mother would cut up slices of fruit for me (there wasn’t much)”, Stewart said, “and as she put it in front of me she would say, ‘An apple a day keeps the doctor away.’ How about, ‘A sonnet a day keeps the doctor away’?”

The Metropolitan Opera was forced to cancel its live presentations, but is re-airing its Live in HD series for free.  “We’d like to provide some grand opera solace to opera lovers in these extraordinarily difficult times,” said Met General Manager Peter Gelb. “Every night, we’ll be offering a different complete operatic gem from our collection of HD presentations from the past 14 years.”

Headlines all over the world have focused on the medical impacts of the coronavirus, and the financial impact of the government’s actions. Often overlooked has been the emotional an psychological impacts on individuals and families. But as we can see, private entities are combating government enforced boredom, demonstrating again that people will voluntarily help each other—and that help is always better than what the government offers.

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Private Coronavirus Relief is Better than Government

The government’s forced quarantines and work restrictions have had a terrible economic impact. To try to correct the problem they caused, politicians are starting their dollar-bill printing presses, creating money out of thin air like a magician—and like a magician, hoping that nobody will notice the trick.

That news is dominating headlines, so you almost certainly know about it. But what isn’t making as many headlines is the news that voluntary, private coronavirus relief is better than government action. What follows is just a small sample of what’s happening every day all over the world.

Government regulations prevent markets from meeting demand as they otherwise could, and that’s been seen in a shortage of medical supplies as the coronavirus spreads. Prudential Financial contributed towards fixing that shortage, donating 153,000 face masks and approximately 75,000 respirators to hospitals across New Jersey.

Private Coronavirus Relief is Better than Government
A Prudential employee prepares stored medical supplies for donation. Image: Prudential Financial

Generous people aren’t just thinking about the safety of healthcare workers, but also their basic needs—like coffee. Starbucks has said that through 3 May, all customers who are hospital staff will receive a tall brewed coffee at no charge. In addition, Starbucks is donating $500,000 to charities that support hospital workers.

But treating COVID patients takes more than caffeine—it takes calories. So Krispy Kreme has joined in as well, pledging to donate a dozen donuts to all healthcare workers every Monday. They’ll continue through National Nurses Week (May 6-12).

Private Coronavirus Relief is Better than Government
Healthcare workers pose with donated donuts. Image: @cappiern

Hospital employees are working very hard to help people sick with COVID, but they are fortunate to still have jobs. The government’s restrictions shut down a lot of businesses, and put a lot of people out of work. Hardest hit are wage-earning employees. That’s why Kent Taylor, the CEO of Texas Roadhouse, has chosen to donate his year’s salary to help his front-line hourly workers.

Taylor is not the only one supporting employees affected by the government’s orders. Gene Lee, the CEO of Darden (the parent company of Olive Garden and LongHorn) is not taking his salary. Rather, he’s investing it and other company resources in an emergency pay program to cover hourly employees. They’re also adjusting their business model to meet the crisis. Lee explained that “what we’re focused on right now is ramping up and using our team members to be able to keep them on our payroll and develop our own delivery capabilities.”

Private Coronavirus Relief is Better than Government
Darden, the parent company of Olive Garden, is adjusting to a delivery-based business model to keep people employed. Image: Olive Garden

And it’s not only employers who are helping with finances. Business are voluntarily helping their customers with financial difficulties. Some financial institutions, such as USAA, are choosing to waive fees, reimburse deductibles on coronavirus-related healthcare, and offer loans at reduced rates.

Utilities are choosing to help as well. In the frozen north, Alaska Waste has said that they “can accommodate payment arrangements; and will work with you individually to meet your needs.” They have also pledged to not stop garbage collection services for people who cannot pay during this crisis.

The outpouring of care from all over the world has been tremendous. We’ve covered additional voluntary relief efforts previously, but as the government-created crisis continues, people keep helping each other. Politicians will continue to bicker about how to distribute your own money back to you, as they hope you forget that it’s they who are driving the economy off a cliff. But everyone else, from huge corporations to private individuals, have stepped up to voluntarily help. Like in everything, private coronavirus relief is better than government efforts.

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Private Businesses Are Helping Coronavirus Victims

While politicians are shutting down stores and endlessly debating about how to spend your tax money, private businesses are helping coronavirus victims. There are too many stories for use to document them all, but here’s a quick selection.

After Governor Herbert closed the government schools, Fat Daddy’s Pizzeria in Provo, UT felt awful about the children who relied on the school lunches. Similar to us at Voluntaryism in Action, the good folks at Fat Daddy’s decided to do something about it. That something was a free lunch—to any school-aged child who needed it.

Private Businesses Are Helping Coronavirus Victims
Fat Daddy's Facebook post announcing their voluntary charity.

They weren’t expecting the volume of responses—not just from people wanting help, but from people offering help. Donations of money poured in. People called up to volunteer to serve food. In defiance of the callous unconcern of the government to people grown dependent on them, Fat Daddy’s brought the community together to help voluntarily.

Private Businesses Are Helping Coronavirus Victims
Fat Daddy's did not expect such an amazing response from their community.

Unlike pizza, one thing that’s difficult to find in Provo, UT is a stiff drink. With the government’s wave of restaurant and bar closures, it wasn’t just people in UT having a hard time feeling the Irish spirit(s) this St. Patrick’s Day. Hardest hit were the bartenders who depend on the revenue for their livelihood. Enter Jameson Irish Whiskey, who has pledged to donate $500,000 to support bartenders affected by this crisis.

Private Businesses Are Helping Coronavirus Victims

Not all help has been as urgent as feeding children and paying bills. Lives have been upset by the shutting down of college an university campuses, with many students left in a painful state of limbo. U-Haul has offered these students 30 days of free self-storage to help get them through the crisis, in addition to reduced rates for truck and trailer rentals.

Private Businesses Are Helping Coronavirus Victims
U-Haul adds their efforts to help mitigate the fallout from the government's response to coronavirus.

With government grade school closures, a lot of parents have found themselves at home with their children for multiple weeks. These parents, made dependent on the state for education, are lost when it comes to teaching their own kids. Yet again, private businesses are helping coronavirus victims. The Facebook page Amazing Educational Resources compiled a list of 30 education companies offering free subscriptions due to the failure of the government schools in this crisis. Here is a link to the spreadsheet, so you can check it out yourself: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1t3r618pd8MAi6V87dG2D66PtiKoHdHusBpjPKXgm36w/htmlview?sle=true&usp=gmail#gid=0

These are only a few of the examples that voluntaryists shared in the VIA Community Group on Facebook. There must be dozens—or even hundreds—that I don’t know about. What’s really amazing is that all of these businesses and people helping others have also been affected by the government’s draconian measures. But they looked around, saw people less fortunate, and reached out to help—as people always do, and always will. That’s why voluntary aid works.

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Boxer Donates Winnings To Charity

Instead of spending his money on sports cars and swimming pools, this boxer donated his winnings to charity — specifically, to fighting homelessness.

British Boxer Tyson Fury has championed many charitable causes since his own battles with drug abuse and mental health problems. The Sun reports that when he traveled to an event in LA and saw the homeless crisis that the government has caused, he vowed to do something.

Boxer Donates Winnings To Charity
Tyson Fury has said he gave away his money to help people, not himself. (Credit: DAVID GARCIA - KONG EVENTS)

There was more than sentiment behind the boxer’s promise. Following his bout with Deontay Wilder, Fury donated his entire paycheck of about $9 million to charities that provide housing for indigent alcohol and drug addicts in his home country of England.

But Fury claims that knowing he’s been able to help people is worth more than any publicity that might come from his actions. “I did give away my last purse but I don’t do charity work for a pat on the back,” Fury said. “I do it to help people but I do not want praise for it, I don’t want to be called a do-gooder.”

Boxer Donates Winnings To Charity
Tyson Fury gave away his $9 million Wilder fight money to charity. (Credit: DAVID GARCIA - KONG EVENTS)

Fury’s fight against his newest rival—homelessness—is a great inspiration to all of us who believe in voluntaryism. People want to help others. And from boxers donating their winnings to charity to a neighbor providing a helping hand, they will.

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Providing Healthcare at a Low Cost: Walmart Opens Care Host Locations

There is a new force in town battling against the growing costs of medical care for Americans: Walmart. That’s right—as the broken system of government-regulated healthcare continues to drive itself into the ground with high costs, Walmart has geared up to offer affordable healthcare services for their customers.

The local Supercenter in Calhoun, GA has constructed 12 waiting rooms in their 6,300-square-foot facility where insured and uninsured patients can have a medical checkup for $30 or a $25 teeth cleaning. There are even counselors available for people seeking mental health services and they charge only $1 a minute for their sessions. In addition to these services, x-rays and hearing checks are also provided. You can book your appointments online or walk in for their services and you can even get labs done on the weekend!

walmart affordable healthcare services
The reception area at the Walmart Health center in Dallas. (PEYTON FULFORD FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK)

Another Care Host location has been established in Dallas, GA as well. These health centers have their own separate entrance from the parking lot, which gives customers a sense of privacy. This is a big leap from their past “Care Clinics” that were cramped within the store and only provided limited services to customers. Now, Walmart has moved in the right direction by completely revamping their original idea for retail clinics. The set prices pretty much eliminate most of the paperwork for both doctors and patients, as patients would rather pay a flat rate than getting their insurance involved.

Dr. Janki Patel at the Calhoun location says it allows optimal patient care: “I don’t feel so rushed and I can spend more time with patients.” This is possible because Walmart’s model lowers the costs of offering services by about 40% by cutting out what Sean Slovenski (Walmart SVP of health and wellness) calls “administrative baloney.” Services cost nearly half of what they would in hospitals and private practices.

walmart affordable healthcare services
The clinics will perform diagnostic lab tests for things like blood glucose and lipids. (PEYTON FULFORD FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK)

Walmart has not given an official statement regarding how many “Care Host” locations will be opened, but there is no question that expansion is eminent considering that Walmart attracts 150 million people a week in all 4,756 locations. Slovenski states that they will be opening their third location in Loganville, GA.

It remains to be seen whether Walmart’s low-cost healthcare services will sustain enough income for full expansion, but the outlook is good. Either way, this is just another example of businesses stepping up where the government continuously lacks, showing the American people once again that there are other avenues for them to rely on.

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Nonprofits Use Apps to Get Food to Needy

Food waste and hunger are two huge problems in the United States, but nonprofits are using apps to address the issue.

The USDA estimates that over 30% of the food produced each year in the US is not consumed—ironically, mostly due to regulations from the government. If food gets too old, vendors have throw it away—even if it’s still safe to eat.

To combat the food waste, apps enable volunteers to pick up the extra food and deliver it to nonprofits, who deliver it to hungry people.

“KFC is preparing chicken continuously, Chipotle is preparing food continuously. We rescue it while it’s still hot and freeze it quickly,” says Bill Reighard, founder and CEO of Food Donation Connection. Since 1992, the nonprofit has been working to get unsold food to the needy, coordinating donations from companies like Pizza Hut.

nonprofits apps food waste
A volunteer using the Food Rescue Hero app to check in at a Pittsburgh grocery store to pick up donated food. (Monica Godfrey-Garrison/412 Food Rescue via AP)

“Many of the problems in the world today feel too big for one person to handle, but feeding the hungry is a way to take action,” says Leah Lizarondo, co-founder of the nonprofit 412 Food Rescue, based in Pittsburgh.

“It’s a step that you can take today,” she says, “and it’s very clear what your impact is. It’s as clear as feeding someone that day.”

Lizadorno’s nonprofit made an app called Food Rescue Hero that works on a model similar to Lyft or Door Dash: users can see instantly if unsold food is available at local stores and restaurants, and volunteer immediately to deliver it to a soup kitchen or food pantry.

Food Rescue Hero has announced that it’s teaming up with Reighard’s Food Donation Connection to build a shared online platform. The goal of their collaboration is to make it even easier for people to help those in need.

nonprofits apps food waste
Melinda Angeles and Eli Thomas transporting a donation of bagels from Bruegger's Bagels across the 9th Street bridge to a North Side senior center in Pittsburgh. (Nancy Andrews/412 Food Rescue via AP)

The MealConnect app from Feeding America takes the same approach. It has been used since 2014 for scheduled donations from chains like Walmart and Target. Beginning last summer, volunteers can also sign up to do impromptu, smaller food rescues. After they’ve registered at MealConnect.org or via the app, volunteers get a short training session at a food bank and are outfitted with a small toolkit of food safety equipment.

Volunteers might be “between classes, or maybe they’re retired, or they’re an Uber or Lyft driver that wants to take a break from driving people around,” says Justin Block, managing director of MealConnect at Feeding America.

There’s no doubt that people want to help others, and they will if given the freedom to do so. As we can see, they’ll even come up with innovative ways to help those less fortunate. And the easier it becomes to help those in need, the more people will do it—voluntarily.

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Private Practitioners in Hong Kong Volunteer Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak

As the threat of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) worsens, healthcare workers in China have struggled to keep up with the amount of patients who are in need of treatment. This is in part due to the influx of cases and their own workers being impacted by COVID-19. According to recent numbers, the confirmed cases of the virus are reaching beyond 76,000 with the majority of those cases in China.

Over 1,700 healthcare workers have now contracted the virus, adding to the strain on essential manpower. As this crisis continues it’s outspreading impact on the country, a union named the “Association of Private Medical Specialists of Hong Kong” has offered help by sending 135 of their private practitioners to assist at public hospitals.

Mak Kam-fai, chairman of the Hong Kong Disciplined Services Volunteer Corps, has said about 300 people from across departments have offered to help in the coronavirus fight. Photo: Edward Wong

Not only are doctors offering their aid during the outbreak, but 300 officers from disciplined services have also volunteered their own manpower by setting up areas for quarantine and gathering general patient information. At the quarantine sites, surgical masks and other supplies are given to those in need of them. “Some of our officers have qualifications, such as in nursing, and can offer medical help. We can also help check people’s body temperatures in heavy passenger flow areas, such as control points or main MTR stations,” says Mak, a retired officer within the fire services.

This comes at a time when medical practitioners are going on strike amongst the difficult and dangerous conditions surrounding their work place environment. Still, volunteers have persisted and are introduced to safety protocols first thing, including the process of putting on and removing their protective gear.

Current and retired members of Hong Kong’s disciplined services have volunteered to help amid the outbreak. Some may be used to do temperature checks. Photo: Winson Wong

Most of the volunteers feel that it is their duty to offer their knowledge and services during a crisis of this magnitude. Cheng Yuk-leung, a retired corrections officer with a nursing background, took his position firmly: “It’s a sense of responsibility for our society. As an enrolled nurse, I can offer more medical assistance, especially in the quarantine sites.”

The fact that the picket lines in the hospital have been crossed by brave volunteers willing to risk their own health amid the growing coronavirus outbreak—not to mention the tens of millions of donated dollars—is an inspiring example of what people are willing to do for their fellow man in times of crisis, no coercion required.

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Gates Foundation Donates $100 Million for Coronavirus Relief

The novel coronavirus that began in Wuhan, China is still spreading across the globe. Agencies across the world are collaborating to help stop the virus, and at the head of the pack is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has pledged up to $100 million in aid.

CNN Business reports that the funds will be directed towards government and non-government agencies in an effort to improve detection and treatment for the disease—including vaccine development.

“The release of fast and flexible funding is intended to help multilateral organizations and national public health authorities rapidly scale up their virus detection capabilities and implement disease modeling analytics,” the Foundation said in a statement.

Bill Gates and Melinda Gates at an event in New York in 2018.

Bill Gates co-founded Microsoft in 1975 and is the world’s second-richest person. He and his wife Melinda have been donating to improve public health for years. In 2009, they gave $33 million to help with a tuberculosis outbreak in China. In 2010, they committed $10 billion toward vaccine research.

Other wealthy business leaders have pledged millions to provide aid during the coronavirus outbreak, including Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma ($14.4 million) and Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun ($1.8 million). With such a tremendous outpouring of aid, there’s no doubt that given the opportunity, people can and will help each other voluntarily.

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