LETHBRIDGE- At the end of March, Heaven Hill Brands, owners of Lethbridge’s Black Velvet Distillery announced a total donation of $400,000 across its community partners in the U.S., Ireland, and here in Lethbridge. The United Way of Lethbridge & South Western Alberta will receive $10,000 to invest in local programs responding to COVID-19.
In addition, Heaven Hill announced parts of its operations at five facilities, including Black Velvet Distillery, would be dedicated to producing, bottling and distributing hand sanitizer. These efforts will support healthcare facilities, first responders, and high-risk populations in cooperation with local and state governments.
“With facilities in the United States, Canada and Ireland, and as a family owned and operated company for 85 years, Heaven Hill has a long history of supporting our employees and their families,” said Max L. Shapira, President of Heaven Hill Brands. “As part of our long-term core mission, we also take great pride in our local communities and at a time like this want to provide assistance to those in need.”
United Way’s Interim Executive Director Vincent Varga said he’s encouraged by the number of companies that are coming forward and using their resources to help.
“Over the past weeks, we’ve seen a lot of incredible generosity across the community,” he said. “We’re going to be able to put this gift from Heaven Hill to work to make sure people have what they need, but they’ve also gone a step further by modifying what they do to fill another very specific need for sanitizer.”
Claude Bilodeau, the Vice-President and General Manager at Black Velvet Distillery agreed and expressed his appreciation for Heaven Hill’s commitment to its employees and communities.
“All of us at Black Velvet are extremely proud to be a part of the Heaven Hill family,” he said. “Over and above the donation to the United Way, we’ve been able to hire immediate family members of our employees whose own jobs were affected by COVID-19. These six employees have been helping us out with the production of hand sanitizer and other duties so that we can continue to give back to southern Alberta.”
More information about accessing emergency funding from United Way for COVID-19 response and relief will be available soon for organizations in Lethbridge and South Western Alberta.
For more information about United Way’s COVID-19 response, please visit www.lethbridgeunitedway.ca/covid-19.