#GivingTuesday is easy. Pick a charity. Participate!

With the festive season upon us, it’s a time for giving, connecting and improving community, and acknowledging the things we’re grateful for.

Giving Tuesday is a movement to create an international day of giving at the beginning of the holiday season. It was started in 2012 by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to commercialization and consumerism. Learn more from the #GivingTuesday website. It’s about taking action where you find it’s most needed. It’s about donation, volunteering, and community service. In our case it’s all these and having a party!

Please see some of the inspiring work our partners past and present engage in. And discover more below.

 

YWCA Toronto Girls’ Centre

YWCA Toronto has created a space for girls to speak openly about how to treat themselves, and how to treat each other, in an effort to challenge gender stereotypes in media and more. Here, older girls get a chance to lead. And younger girls get role models they can relate with. Current programs include mentoring, media creation, and Summer and March Break camps about life skills and self-esteem. The YWCA Toronto’s Girls’ Centre also partners with schools, community agencies and organizations to offer girls support, help and guidance.

Come to HoHoTO on Friday, December 11th and support the YWCA Toronto’s Girls’ Centre! Please also participate year-round, sponsor HoHoTO, volunteer or spread the word.

YWCA Toronto Girls' Centre

Daily Bread Food Bank

Daily Bread Food Bank Website

HoHoTO has raised over $350,000 for the Daily Bread in the last six years, as well as gave four tonnes of food. In fact we’re there today helping out! Make a gift on Giving Tuesday to Daily Bread Food Bank and they’ll be able to continue to provide nutritious food to people struggling with hunger through a network of almost 200 food programs across Toronto.
Your HoHoTO at volunteering at Daily Bread,

Canada Helps

Canada Helps Website on GivingTuesday

Canada Helps is a one-stop shop for Canadians to donate and fundraise online for any registered Canadian charity.

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.