Tania Samsonova on volunteering for #HoHoTO

Can you believe it? We’re all a few days away to the best holiday party of the year! And we couldn’t do it without our group of dedicated volunteers, many that come back every year, to check guests in, collect donations at the photo booth, sell raffle tickets and much more.
To give you an idea of what it’s like to volunteer for #HoHoTO we asked long-time volunteer  Tania Samsonova a few questions on her volunteer experience :
How did you get involved in HoHoTO?
 I first heard about it on FB from several people at once, the usual crowd most of whom were among the first HoHoTO organizers
What’s your favourite volunteer position?
 I love being at the door and greeting people, a lot of whom I know at least by sight and by name! I also love helping with raffle setup – seeing all these wonderful gifts donated by wonderful people just warms my heart.
What’s your favourite HoHoTO memory?
 Totally great photos of people, including myself, taken by Rannie Turingan
Any advice to any HoHoTO newbies thinking of volunteering?
Go for it! You will never regret it. There is nothing like the feeling that you are a part of something bigger than you that does good to people.
If you see Tania on Thursday be sure to give her a high-five, she deserves it!!

Raffle Roundup

We thought that you’d like to read about all the incredible prizes our sponsors have donated to the raffle. Please note that some of these items will end up in our fabulous HANGOVER AUCTION, which will take place on Sunday, December 14th— but more on that soon. And all of these items are subject to change, since not every single one of them is in our hands yet, and things always occur. But as we see it right now, these are the items we’ll offer you this week, in one way or another:

As you can see, this is an extraordinary selection of prizes…but you have to show up to win, so get your tickets—and buy some raffle tickets—now!

Gail Nyberg from Daily Bread on Why help is needed

The number of households in Ontario turning to food banks increased significantly this year, according to the Ontario Association of Food Banks.In total, 17,182 households accessed food banks in March 2014 compared to 14,206 households last year.

To further explain how #HoHoTO’s funds help to support the Daily Bread Food Bank and the Toronto community we asked their executive director Gail Nyberg a few questions on why funding is needed and what impact the donation will make:

Tell me a bit about yourself and how you got to Daily Bread.

I am a former school trustee and chair of a school board and through my job I became involved with the school breakfast program. At that time it was apparent that many children were coming to school on an empty stomach.  Then I was approached to lead Daily Bread. It was good timing because I felt it was the next step to making a difference – hungry children come from hungry families. At Daily Bread, I can raise my voice for those who need help.

Why do you think that food banks use has increased as much as it has?

Well, because there are more people who are struggling to make ends meet. The recession in 2008 hit many people in our city really hard: losing jobs, losing benefits, losing security. We’re still feeling those effects. Thankfully, Daily Bread is here to help people manage until they are back on their feet.

What is your holiday wish this season?

My wish this Christmas is for people in our city to open their hearts and pockets and to share with those in need. I hope that we are able to collect enough food and money so that we can provide nutritious food to keep individuals and their families healthy during the winter months ahead.

Where does the money raised through HoHoTO go?

Most, but not all, of the food we provide is donated. We use the funds raised by HoHoTO to purchase needed food when it isn’t donated – eggs, or peanut butter, or other food needed to ensure a healthy mix – and to run our distribution operation. We have trucks on the road year-round, getting food to the 200 or so meal programs, neighbourhood food banks and other programs that depend on our deliveries to run their programs.

How can people help year-round?   

People can help anytime of the year. Hunger never takes a vacation nor does the need end – at least for now. Food donations can be dropped off at grocery store locations or any fire hall in the Toronto area. Most importantly, a dollar donation really helps and makes a bigger impact. I always encourage our supporters to become monthly donors because it’s the easiest way to guarantee that Daily Bread has the income it needs to continue to work we do all year round. In all my years at daily Bread, I continue to be inspired and amazed at our donors who always step up and make a difference.