By George Redak, Local Journalism Initiative reporter
GivingTuesday started ten years ago as a simple idea: encourage people to do good, even if just for a day. This initiative quickly picked up momentum globally, and in 2013 CanadaHelps.org along with several other partners brought GivingTuesday to Canada.
Today, the initiative is embraced by foundations across Canada, with the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation playing a key role in receiving donations from the York Region.
In 2016 the MSH Foundation created Bear Necessities, a program designed to create a comfortable environment for patients at MSH. By 2018, the program delivering teddy bears expanded to include soft sleep sacks for infants as well as plush blankets for patients. The initiative will relaunch this fall for the first time since the COVID pandemic began.
“Giving a bear hug allows our community to provide comfort in a tangible way,” says Suzette Strong, CEO of Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation. “Your support this Giving Tuesday will support some of our most vulnerable patients, from our tiniest patients in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to women fighting cancer in our chemotherapy clinic, to our elderly patients.”
All the money raised from Bear Necessities will be used to expand MSH. By 2030, the goal is to be able to serve 500,000 patients a year. Expanding Emergency Care and doubling the volume of cancer patients, surgeries and mental health needs are of the utmost priority.
The date for this year’s GivingTuesday is November 28. This is the official global celebration, however, the primary objective of the movement is to highlight the value and importance of generosity. The most successful campaigns are a year-round effort. Donations and volunteering are encouraged on whatever days make sense for each individual. In many ways, GivingTuesday is not just about that one single day. It is meant as a message to citizens of more than 80 participating countries to help, donate and volunteer with any foundation that they have a close connection to.
All GivingTuesday partners are responsible for organizing their own GivingTuesday campaigns and activities, allowing communities across Canada to get involved. There are no restrictions on who can participate, and all are welcome to become a part of this movement. From charities and non-profits to small businesses, corporations, schools and community groups, GivingTuesday is about bringing everyone together under one shared commitment: to be generous and create positive change.
Visit lifesavinggifts.ca to purchase a Bear Necessity and double your impact thanks to Shahan and Aida Güler’s pledge to match donations this Giving Tuesday on November 28.
Photo: All the money raised from Bear Necessities will be used to expand MSH.