GivingTuesday may have come and gone for another year, but the impact made on Tuesday, November 29th will certainly last forever. Celebrated for a fourth year in Canada, GivingTuesday is a day where Canadians, charities, and businesses come together to give back, whether it’s making a donation, volunteering time, or spreading the word through social media. As proud co-founders of the GivingTuesday Canada movement, the team at CanadaHelps sees GivingTuesday as an opportunity to kick-start our holiday giving.
This year at CanadaHelps, we decided to not only celebrate GivingTuesday on the streets of Toronto at Yonge and Dundas Square, we also celebrated on the west coast in Vancouver outside Waterfront Station. Handing out thousands of $3.00 CanadaHelps Charity Gift Cards in both Toronto and Vancouver, we helped Canadians celebrate the global day of giving by encouraging 6,000 lucky Canadians to think about a cause they care about to donate their $3.00 CanadaHelps Charity Gift Card to.
Joining us to handout the gift cards were a few special guests in both Toronto and Vancouver. We were thrilled to have seven charities join us to help celebrate the big day and to kick-start the holiday giving season!
Here’s who joined us bright and early to celebrate GivingTuesday 2016:
Annex Cat Rescue (Toronto)
Annex Cat Rescue (ACR) is a grassroots, 100 percent volunteer-run charity committed to improving the lives of stray and feral cats and kittens across Toronto. We provide daily food, shelter and medical oversight to 14 colonies plus outreach and assistance to members of the community. Our network of volunteer foster and socialization homes prepares tame cats for adoption while our trap-neuter-return efforts ensure Toronto’s feral cat population is steadily decreasing. Each year, ACR helps literally hundreds of cats in myriad ways: from dental care to insulin injections, overwinter shelter distribution to daily colony care. Every dollar we raise benefits cats; we do not operate a shelter or occupy an office. Now in its 20th year, ACR sincerely hopes to be out of business for good very soon.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (Toronto)
At Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada (BBBS), we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential, both as individuals and citizens – that by doing so, they will not only do well, they will also do good. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future. That it could lead to a reduction in poverty and unemployment. Or to safer schools and neighbourhoods. Or to a renewed optimism for growth. That it could even lead to change on a broader, more far-reaching scale. We believe that opening a child’s eyes to what is – opens their mind to what could be. For one hundred years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has been making a positive difference in the lives of our nation’s youth by developing and implementing a wide range of mentoring programs. One-to-one and group programs, for both in school and outside of school.
Engage and Change (Toronto)
Engage and Change aims to assist those in need in our communities by promoting, identifying, and developing partnerships between individuals, for-profit, and not-for-profit organizations. We design events that will engage individuals, who will contribute their time, and businesses who will contribute money and product. Together, we assemble kits containing supplies for everyday survival that will be distributed, through not-for-profit organizations, to those who need them.
Therapeutic Paws of Canada (Toronto)
Therapeutic Paws of Canada is a non-profit organization of volunteers providing animal resources for human needs (physical, mental, educational, motivational, socialization) through regular visits by members of their community with their pets. We participate in both senior and child programs and provide visits to hospitals, long-term care centres, retirement residences, schools, libraries, nursing homes and anywhere there is a need. Therapeutic Paws of Canada exclusively runs a special children’s program; Paws To Read ® program, matching child certified therapy dogs and handlers with children who struggle to read. Our mission is to improve the quality of life and our dedicated volunteers help make life better for all those we visit.
Mission Possible (Vancouver)
The main objective of the Mission Possible Employment Readiness Program (ERP) is to help youth and adults who have employment barriers such as mental illness, inexperience, and challenges related to poverty earn a living wage through meaningful employment. ERP gives participants the training, support, experience and encouragement they need to find a job. Nearly two thirds of residents living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside are living below Canada’s poverty line and 75% of adults in our immediate neighbourhood are unemployed, or underemployed. ERP responds to the desire that youth and adults in our community have to obtain employment. It also helps individuals who drop into our office on a daily basis looking for job search assistance.
First United Church Community Ministry Society (Vancouver)
First United Church Community Ministry Society is a prominent inner-city mission in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver built around the pillars of social justice, hospitality, healing and housing. We operate a 24-hour low barrier shelter with 60 beds, offer nutritious meals onsite, and provide services such as housing and paralegal advocacy, support groups, a unique storage program, and personal care services. Our programs support and empower individuals living with mental illness, addiction, homelessness and other challenges— essentially, our work is to make hope possible. Our programs and services rely on substantial support from donors, the traditional backbone of annual funding at First United. Donate now to help us continue our valuable work.
British Columbia and Alberta Guide Dogs (Vancouver)
British Columbia and Alberta Guide Dogs breeds, raises and professionally trains guide dogs for blind/visually-impaired individuals and autism support dogs for children with moderate to profound autism (aged 3 – 10) and their families. It takes two years and upwards of $35,000 to produce one certified dog. Our organization relies on the generosity of donors like you to help our life-changing dogs provide companionship, independence, mobility, safety and confidence to recipients, free of charge. BC Guide Dogs was founded in 1996. In 2002, the organization expanded into Alberta and in 2008, launched its sister charity, Autism Support Dogs. In 2014, the two charities amalgamated to form one organization, collectively known as BC & Alberta Guide Dogs. Alberta Guide Dogs and Autism Support Dogs are divisions of BC & Alberta Guide Dogs. BC & Alberta Guide Dogs relies on the generosity of donors to serve individuals and families living in British Columbia and Alberta.