Ryan Reynolds and wife Blake Lively donate $500,000 to help Canadian homeless and at risk-youth

Reynolds helping homeless

British Columbia's Ryan Reynolds and wife Blake Lively have donated $500,000 to help homeless and at-risk Canadian youth. 

The pair has pledged $250,000 to both Covenant House Vancouver and Covenant House Toronto, while encouraging people to give what they can to organizations in their local communities, CTV News Vancouver reports.

Reynolds has acted as various Marvel Comics characters over the last years and he says social workers at these organizations "do the work of heroes."

"For us, helping Covenant House this way isn't a donation, but an investment in compassion and empathy," Reynolds said in a statement on the organization's website.

He also notes that the majority of people who end up seeking assistance by Covenant House "have a story marked by extraordinary trauma."

"They are so much more than that trauma. They have so much to offer the world. Matching this gift is saying you believe in them. You believe in the power of compassion to transform the trajectory of a human being."

Covenant House says the COVID-19 pandemic has posed "new and evolving challenges" such as job loss and the worsening opioid crisis which is impacting youth hard. 

Covenant House Vancouver CEO Krista Thompson says as the pandemic continues, youth continue to deserve "unconditional love and absolute respect."

"Just like Ryan and Blake, we hope this gift highlights the value of each and every youth, and inspires others to open their hearts to those struggling with the crisis of homelessness." 

Three other anonymous donors have made massive contributions to Covenant House which launched a matching campaign at the Vancouver location. Any donation made by Dec. 31 will be "matched for three times the impact," up to $375,000.

This isn't the first generous act that Reynolds and Lively have done throughout the pandemic. They have also donated $200,000 to Canadian Indigenous women through St. Francis Xavier University's Coady Institute, a combined $1 million to Feeding America and Food Banks Canada and $200,000 to the NAACP's legal defence fund following the death of George Floyd.

-With files from CTV News Vancouver

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