'Act of kindness': Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds give $500,000 to help at-risk youth in Canada

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Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are giving back as the holiday season kicks off, which has inspired some other celebrities to do good for their communities, too.

The couple is donating $250,000 to Covenant House Vancouver and $250,000 to Covenant House Toronto to help the organization support at-risk, homeless and trafficked youth across Canada.

The Covenant House, which has been operating for more than 40 years, according to its website, has "helped transform and save the lives" of more than 1 million runaway, trafficked and homeless young people. It reaches approximately 74,000 youth on a yearly basis.

In a blog post featuring the news Wednesday, Kristy Hayter of Covenant House Vancouver wrote that their donation "an incredible act of kindness and philanthropy."

“Ryan and Blake truly understand that young people who are facing homelessness deserve unconditional love and absolute respect,” Krista Thompson, CEO of Covenant House Vancouver, wrote.

Reynolds, who is from Canada, has been "a long-time friend" to the organization, according to the post.

“Covenant House provides love, hope and stability for at-risk youth who’ve fled physical, emotional and sexual abuse,” Reynolds is quoted in the post. “They do the work of heroes."

He said helping Covenant House isn't a donation but rather an investment in empathy and compassion.

"The young people who pass through the doors of Covenant House more often than not have a story marked by extraordinary trauma," Reynolds said. "They are so much more than that trauma. They have so much to offer the world."

The donation comes as the coronavirus pandemic has increased job loss and anxiety among the people the Covenant House serves, the organization said.

Reynolds encouraged others to donate, too. Gifts made to Covenant House Vancouver through Dec. 31 will be matched by Reynolds and Lively.

This isn't the first time the duo has offered monetary support to an organization.

In May, in the wake of George Floyd's death, the couple donated $200,000 to The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and encouraged others to do the same.

"Last week we contributed $200,000 to the @NAACP_LDF. We stand in awe of this organization, their empathy and leadership in, @Sifill_LDF. Their work is essential to the integrity of democracy," Lively wrote in part on Twitter.

And earlier in the year, Reynolds announced that he and Lively donated $1 million to food drive organizations Feeding America and Food Banks Canada on March 16, as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Blake Lively, Ryan Reynolds donate $500K to Covenant House youth group