Grab your HoHoTO ticket now and you’ll automatically be entered into our early bird draw!

HoHoTO is coming up fast—we’re less than two weeks away!

Celebrate this holiday with friends, colleagues, and Toronto’s fabulous Twitter community by grabbing your ticket today. The night will feature great sounds from our DJs (perfect for dancing!), an awesome raffle stocked with the best prizes, a chance to relax with a massage from Allison Greenbaum, a photobooth sponsored by JustEat.ca to capture your big smiles, and late night snacks to help keep you from turning into a pumpkin at midnight.

We need your help to make this night a success and help us raise as much money for the Daily Bread Food Bank as possible. With all proceeds from ticket sales going to Daily Bread, all you need to do is buy a ticket and help spread the word.

As an added bonus, everyone who buys a ticket by 11:59 p.m. Thursday, December 12th will be entered into our early bird giveaway! 

First prize: A 8″ Samsung GALAXY 3 Tab donated by Kanetix.
Second prize: A pair of VIP tickets, which include drinks and appetizers in our VIP section from 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Third prize: A complete set of our 5 HoHoTO buttons will be given away to three lucky people.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your ticket now!

No purchase necessary. To enter without buying a ticket, please write us a 500 word blog post on why food banks are important to you, and either send it to us at help at hohoto.ca or post it on your blog and post a link to it in the comments below. Thank you.

Guest Post: Why I’m volunteering at HoHoTO

Omar Khafagy originally published the post below on his Facebook page about when he volunteered at a foodbank as a teenager. He gave us permission to reprint his post here.

When I was in high school, I volunteered at a food bank. I remember the warehouse as enormous and cold. I was 15, and it was winter. The sun was so high in the sky that its heatless presence was taunting. I remember standing outside, leaning over the handle of a dolly and panting plumes of vapour, wishing that the sun would dip down for a bit.

At the time, I was a chubby 15-year-old. I had little to no muscle at all, and the entire experience was the most physically gruelling I’d ever known.

I pushed and pulled trolleys of boxes loaded with cans of beans; running from one end of the warehouse to the other whenever I was required, and generally struggled to keep up with the adults who were there. I had to keep up with them, you see, because I was humbled by them. They were not there because they were volunteers.

They were there as employees and benefactors of the very food they helped collect and sort. These were not the most educated folks. They weren’t well-read, and many weren’t particularly well-watched either. TV wasn’t a huge part of their lives. Survival was.

One man in particular stands out in my memory. He was a tall man with oily fingernails, patchy stubble, a handful of teeth and a thick mess of hair that stuck out of an old red cap he wore backward.

He told dirty jokes. Yet each time he swore, he would stumble over himself apologizing for his language. Then, as though in defence of himself, he would say, “But you’re practically grown up. I mean, you’re what, 15? 16? Pretty sure you’ve heard of a p—- before. If ya haven’t, ya definitely think about ’em.”

Cold as it was, my face and ears were kept warm.

The man wanted to include me and make me feel welcome. The entire staff did, displaying patience when I struggled to complete some simple physical task, and displaying kindness by sharing with me what little food they had. I couldn’t even turn them down. They insisted over and over again.

They knew I was a volunteer, knew that I was a private school student, and yet showed more kindness to me than many of the wealthiest people I have ever known.

I have long harboured a desire to participate again in some fundraising effort to help feed the hungry. Every year I think about it, and each year I do nothing. This year promised to be much of the same, except that this time something happened.

I opened an email I would have ordinarily thrown away.

In that email was an ad for HoHoTO 2013, a fundraising event in support of The Daily Bread Food Bank. The last time I stumbled accidentally onto something I’d have normally ignored, I wound up a student at Bitmaker Labs alongside some of the most gifted and inspirational people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Good things happen when I don’t think too hard before I act.

So I didn’t overthink this one. I emailed Gina, the woman in charge of HoHoTO’s volunteers, and within 24 hours got myself a ticket for the event and a 2 hour slot between 9 and 11pm on Thursday December 19th.

If you’re reading this, and you’re anywhere near Toronto… I want to see you there. It’s going to be a great event with drinks, food, and great people from the startup, tech, social media and design community.

But more importantly, it’s going to help some of the city’s hungriest feel a little fuller, a little warmer, this holiday season.

Nearly 800,000 people relied on a food bank in 2012. That’s enough people to pack the Air Canada Centre forty times over. A third of those people were children. For those doing the math, that’s around 13 ACCs filled with kids.

100% of the proceeds go directly to feeding these folks, and you get to have a great time while doing it.

So if you can make it, great! If you can’t, but want to donate anyway, click below and purchase a ticket for early-bird admission. And if you’re not going to be in town or simply can’t afford to, please share this with whoever you can.

With your help we can make Toronto a little less hungry this holiday season.

You can join Omar and volunteer at this year’s HoHoTO. Email Gina for more details. 

Fundraising with a Costume “Contest”

Tim Regan/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Traditionally, supporting HoHoTO has meant spreading the word, donating food, attending the event, or signing on as a sponsor. But the support – and fun – doesn’t have to end there.

If you’re looking for a fun, low-stress, and holiday themed way to fundraise for HoHoTO in your office, we’ve got you covered with this week’s fundraising idea: a costume contest.

Now, before you totally write off this idea as silly, this kind of costume contest might be a little different from the kind you’re used to seeing at Halloween.

First, pick a festive costume (like a full-on Santa suit, pillow belly and all!) and round up mangers who would be willing to wear the costume around the office for a full day in the name of charity.

Next, set up collection tins in your break room labelled with each participating manager’s name, and encourage employees to vote on which manager they want to see wear the costume by tossing cash into the tin. Whichever jar has the most money at the end of the week “wins” – and come Monday, the lucky “winner” will get to walk around in full-on festive garb for the duration of the work day. Be sure to also pin a sign to them to raise awareness about the event wherever they go – for example, “I’m wearing this outfit to support HoHoTO and the Daily Bread Food Bank!”

PS – If you run a fundraiser like this in your office, we’d LOVE to see the photos!

 

Hack memes for a good cause. It’s easy.

 

This is a guest post from Elena Yunusov, a past organizer of HoHoTO, who wrote this post and originally published it on her blog. It is reprinted here with her permission, and her request that we all make our own memes. My contribution is the image at the top of this post. You are welcome to create your meme and share them with us in  the comments, or on Twitter @HoHoTO.

Yes you can. Yes you can have fun and help the world all at once.

Every year for the last five years, I played for the team that organized HoHoTO, a holiday fundraiser for Toronto’s Daily Bread. We started it in 2008 when the recession hit, as a way to bring the tech/startup community together during tough times, and as a way to give back.

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So yeah. Guess what, the need for HoHoTO and giving back has never been more acute than it is today. 1.6 million Canadians used a food bank last year, and that’s 23% higher than in 2008, when the economy collapsed.

Wait. Let me repeat that.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 11.34.57 AM

Mark December 19th on your calendars, people, and come to HoHoTO.

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HoHoTO is a fantastic party fundraiser for Toronto’s Daily Bread, where bubbles float in the air, people dance like they just don’t care, buy beer for strangers, and make new friends – helping the world suck a little less.

Lex's first meme caption all for #HoHoTO
Lex’s first meme caption all for #HoHoTO

You dance, hungry people eat. Tag your cat tweets, pics and memes with #hohoto, cause why not. The more people find out about the party, the better! Here’s that perfect moment of joy when you realize you actually have a reason to Instagram your cats and your food, cause every time you tag your posts with #hohoto, you help spread the word that hungry people need to eat and deserve our help. Ride the fun wave, and help others.

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It feels good to do good. All the cool kids do it! Well, you get the idea. Now, why not hack a meme! Tag it with #hohoto. It’s so fun, I just might make a Tumblr next.

Screen Shot 2013-11-06 at 11.52.01 AM

Finding and creating memes to caption is fun, and http://www.quickmeme.com/caption is as good place to start as any. Pls remember to tag your meme with #hohoto! Caption those cats. Cause cats are the future!

Why do we still do HoHoTO, after all these years? This is why.

Meme captioned by @gisuck

 

Nervous about coming to HoHoTO? Here’s what you can expect

hohoto
Andrew Louis/Flickr

I remember the first time I wanted to go to HoHoTO.

It was 2009 — the second year of the event — I was reading so much about this cool party coming up on Twitter. I was relatively new to Twitter, having just joined the microblogging site earlier that year.

I kept wavering back and forth about going. I knew people who were going. Some of the people who were going I didn’t know, but followed on Twitter. Did I belong at this event? I wasn’t so sure.

I didn’t go that year. In fact, it took me three more years before I finally stepped outside of my comfort zone and made my first appearance at a HoHoTo event. And I didn’t know why it took me three years to finally do it — I had so much fun.

Here are some of the highlights of what you can expect:

  • Catch up with old friends and meet some new ones: HoHoTO is referred to as “the party that Twitter” built, and it very much is that. I had a great time last year finally meeting some people IRL that up until then I had only conversed with on Twitter.
  • Make more of a difference: You can make a difference by bringing canned food with you to donate to Daily Bread. The more you donate, the more we can help.
  • Have a chance to win some cool stuff: Of course, we also raise money raffling off some awesome prizes. You can even buy raffle tickets online this year, making it even easier for you to come to the party and try to win something great. Past raffle prizes include smartphones, spa gift certificates and so much more. Stay tuned for more details on this year’s raffle.

So if you’re thinking about attending HoHoTO, but not quite sure, buy your ticket and come. Trust me, it’s the best party you’ve never been to.