At five years old, Gabriel from Ottawa, Ontario knows what it means to give back. When his parents suggested that he use his party as a way to raise money for Toonies for Tummies, he agreed. He may not fully appreciate the extent of his actions, but at the tender age of 5, he understands why philanthropy is important and presumably knows the just how good it feels to give back. His kindness is not unlike the efforts of employees at Hamilton's Health Sciences who rallied to support the Toonies for Tummies campaign, or Yvonne from Toronto who raised enough with her 60th birthday party to feed 100 students.
All of these efforts are evidence that "giving to neighbours and community" is important to Canadians. In 2012, Canada became the first nation to permanently recognize November 15th as National Philanthropy Day. This day embodies the desire of most Canadians to help organizations that benefit from their time, talents, and donations. Beyond the tax receipt, giving has impact. In the case of Toonies for Tummies, 100 per cent of the money donated at the cash register and online goes to helping kids and youth in Ontario, helping ensure they have the necessary nutrition to focus on school and have the physical stamina to be healthy and active.
Perhaps not surprisingly, a 2013 Stats Canada report found 44% of Canadians report to volunteering and 82% report to donating to a charitable or non-profit organization. We know that many of these Canadians are shoppers in Ontario who donate to Toonies for Tummies at our participating retailers. We'd like to thank you for your support. Last year alone you helped us raise almost 900,000 dollars. Think of 450,000 kids getting meals because of you.
Volunteering is good for those who help and has been found to have a positive impact on the health of those receiving the assistance as well as those offering it. Volunteering also opens you up to an entirely new network of people in your community who are also looking to give back and grow both personally and professionally through leadership, directorship, and board roles in non-governmental and non-profit organizations.
Whether you are 5 and choose to turn your birthday into an occasion to give back, or you opt to give back at the cash register by making a donation, the impact is far reaching. The next time you walk by a grocery store or take a toonie out of your pocket, take a moment to celebrate all that you have done to help people in your community and in communities around the world. You might not always have the opportunity to personally meet or speak to the people that you help, but through our school visits and work with volunteers in Ontario's school nutrition network we often do, and we can tell you, your impact is lasting.