Nearly everyone is feeling the effects of COVID-19, but some, especially the most vulnerable, are struggling more than others. Children in need, those experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, the elderly, refugees, and many others have lost access to critical services and programs due to social distancing.
Meanwhile, charitable organizations are leaning in and trying to figure out how to continue to deliver their mission in a world that’s changed. Crisis lines supporting those experiencing domestic violence are reporting an increase in calls, food banks and shelters are experiencing overwhelming demand. However, charitable providers and social services have had to cancel fundraising events or shut down due to physical distancing regulations and many volunteers are unable to be welcomed onto the physical premises of these organizations to help.
As the holiday season comes and goes, it’s important to acknowledge that the financial and operational struggles many of these organizations are facing do not go away. Charities are reacting quickly to protect many of those left most vulnerable during this crisis, but they can’t do it alone.
For the third year in a row, as part of our Purpose Beyond Profit initiative and to live one of our core values of serving others, TPG provided each employee with $100 to “pay it forward” and help organizations, families, and individuals in need. Whether it be donating to an organization, buying food for a food drive, or buying necessary items used in a homeless shelter, our team banded together to reach a common goal of supporting the community in a time of need.
Below are some of the causes we served this holiday season with this initiative. Please join us in supporting one of the organizations below or another of your choosing to help those most in need during COVID-19.
My Friend’s House is a safe haven for abused women and their children. Although they are a provincially-funded social service, they require $400,000 in donations to remain operating. They have a 12-bed emergency shelter in a caring, safe environment providing healthy meals, personal care items, access to clothing, counselling and practical support. Most important, it provides protection for women and children from an abusive relationship and enables them to find a fresh start.
“As I researched the details of how widespread this is, I was saddened to learn that domestic abuse has risen 40% since COVID-19. We have learned that someone close to us has been subject to abuse and has now found the courage to leave and begin anew. I have taken the $100 and added to it to ensure that a family can be taken care of for several days until they can find new lodging and safety.” – David Poirier
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is an organization that embraces all measures that complement the conservation, preservation, and protection of wildlife and habitats. Working across Kenya, their projects include anti-poaching, safeguarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.
Here’s a picture of one of the baby elephants they rescued:
If you come to Kenya you can visit the orphanage and they let you pet and play with the baby elephants! – Josh Bangera
“I am grateful to TPG for continuing the tradition of having every team member donate to an organization of their own choice” – Kayla Brar
This year, Covid-19 caused many to lose their job and food scarcity grew in many households. This is the reason I chose to donate and match the “pay it forward holiday goodwill” to Seva Food Bank. Seva Food Bank addresses the challenges of food security in Mississauga, Ontario.
Seva Food Bank provides equitable access to safe, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food to people experiencing or at risk of poverty in the communities served.
Kids Help Phone is Canada’s only 24/7, national support service. They offer professional counselling, information and referrals and volunteer-led, text-based support to young people in both English and French.
Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services began as a soup kitchen in 1929, and since then has been steadily increasing and strengthening a diverse range of integrated services for residents of east downtown Toronto.
Dixon Hall serves more than 10,000 people annually, impacting the lives of the most vulnerable and the most at-risk members of our community. They work with at-risk youth, seniors, adults with physical and health disabilities, people who need housing, individuals searching for employment, those with mental health issues, and newly immigrated individuals and their families. Their mission is to create lasting solutions to end poverty, social injustices, and isolation in Toronto
Fred Victor social service charitable organization and is also a pet-friendly shelter in Toronto. Every day, more than 2,000 people use their programs and services. And each person who comes through the doors is experiencing poverty and/or homelessness.
“I hope this money can help a few people to keep their pets with them during this difficult time.” – Eric Li
“Sick Kids Foundation has always been a special organization for me, but this year TPG’s Pay It Forward initiative will be even more impactful for them. I decided to add in my own personal contribution of $120 for $240 of monthly donations for 2021, and with the generosity of an anonymous benefactor who will be tripling contributions, TPG’s $100 will turn into $720 for 2021. 2020 has been an extremely difficult year for most companies, but charitable organizations and those who depend on them have really been affected. Thank you TPG for this tradition and for continuing always pushing a culture of giving.” – Trish Nguyen
Leading in Colour is a non-profit organization to train racialized youth to become activists in and for our communities through peer-to-peer knowledge sharing, to demand justice and change for inequities they face every day. This year, they started a Winter Support Fund for Racialized Youth, where funds are distributed directly to those in need.
“Thanks to TPG for creating such a great initiative to help our community during this difficult time” – Maggie Bolt
“Cancer has impacted my life since I was little. My Nonna (grandmother on my mother’s side) passed away 15 years ago of cancer. My mom is a recent cancer survivor. My partner’s mom is also a cancer survivor and many other relatives in my family have in one way or another been affected by cancer. This year has been nothing shy of surprises. Unfortunately, my partner’s mom has been having an exceptionally hard time this year with new complications in her cancer journey. With the recent lockdown restrictions due to COVID-19, it has become extremely difficult for her to see the specialty doctors needed to run the testing to determine what further steps need to be taken. It has been very difficult to see this strong woman struggle every day.
“I know there are so many great causes this money could be used towards but with the way I have seen cancer impact my life and the lives around me – I want to be able to make a difference, even if it is a small one.” – Samantha Connell-Tombs
The foundation works with children who are battling pediatric brain tumours and other childhood cancers through multiple programs. They do this by pairing the afflicted child as well as their siblings (which is really cool as the siblings often are overlooked in the troubles that they face) with college or other high-level sports teams in their community.
“I was able to see this organization firsthand when playing at Penn State, where the boy and his family were closely connected with our team. The value provided to the family is amazing, and it is certainly an eye-opening experience that provides so much perspective of how lucky we are compared to what others are going through. Seeing the connection and what that sense of family can do for people in need is something that I think this charity does in a unique way.” – TJ Sanders
Food Banks Canada is a national charitable organization dedicated to helping Canadians living with food insecurity. We support a network of Provincial Associations, affiliate food banks, and food agencies that work at the community level to relieve hunger
“My family came from India and settled in N.S. over 50 years ago and I remember my dad saying to me that his worries disappeared when he came to Canada and these words resonate with me still.
“I say that because growing up he told me about the struggles he and my mother had sometimes having to go without food for days. Anytime something good happened in our house whether it was a birthday or graduation, my parents made sure money was sent to Feed Nova Scotia. Happy to say they instilled these values in their children. No one should go hungry, they always said. I am happy to say I took the $100 and added another $400 to donate to Food Banks of Canada.” – Mullieka Pellerin
The Mid Ohio Foodbank aims to provide efficient, effective ways for hungry people to meet their basic food and nutrition needs. Their mission is to “end hunger one nourishing meal at a time while co-creating communities where everyone thrives.” Their network of 680 member agencies directly distributes the vast majority of the 66.5 million pounds of food the Mid-Ohio Foodbank handles each year. Through these partnerships, they provide more than 140,000 meals each day for hungry people in central and eastern Ohio.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic reached Central Ohio, they’ve seen a 38% increase in food distribution, which translates to an estimated 200,000 meals per day. Over 22,000 families across their 20-county footprint have visited one of their partner agencies for the first time. They can turn $1 into 3 meals, have a very efficient operation and is one of the better charities (ratio of $’s given vs. what those in need actually get).” – Jared Frederici
The mission of ACT – Autism Community Training is to provide excellent information and training, in accordance with international best practices. Their goal is to enable parents, professionals and para-professionals to support children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder to live productive, satisfying lives within their families and communities. The current pandemic has been especially tough on both children and adults with mental and physical disabilities, as well as their caregivers. This organization provides resources to support families and/or adults affected by neuro-developmental conditions during the COVID-19 crisis.
King Group Nursing Home is a long-term care facility in Peel.
“I donated mine to King Nursing Home Nursing Staff Christmas fund, to purchase coffee, snacks and lunches for the staff at the nursing home where my cousin resides. I am his legal guardian and am not able to visit him and they are his family now too, so I am grateful for their wonderful care. They are not allowed to receive gifts directly, so this was the next best way to say thank you” Susan Greenwood
Soul Fire Farm works in the sustainable agriculture space to empower activist-farmers and advocates for environmental justice and equity in access to land, sustenance and power in the food system. Key objectives include “farmer training for Black and Brown growers, reparations and land return initiatives for northeast farmers, food justice workshops for urban youth, home gardens for city-dwellers living under food apartheid, doorstep harvest delivery for food insecure households, and systems and policy education for public decision-makers.
This non-profit urban farm employs low-income youth year-round and teaches them “job readiness and leadership skills through farming… kitchen and nutrition education, as well as food policy and civic engagement.” The organization ultimately aims to catalyze universal access to “nutritious, affordable, accessible and culturally relevant food” while giving local communities “access to power, land and resources to define their own food and agricultural systems in harmony with natural systems.” They do fantastic work to build equitable and accessible food systems in upstate New York.
This year TPG bought 3 contactless thermometers for Not Just Tourists. These thermometers will travel with people going on business trips or returning to families abroad and can be used in COVID-19 testing to hopefully keep people safe during this pandemic.
Not Just Tourists packs suitcases full of (non-pharmaceutical) medical supplies such as bandages, thermometers, swaps, stethoscopes, blood pressure cuffs (last year’s TPG donation), etc. Those suitcases, with TSA instructions, are passed to volunteers for their travels and handed off on arrival to clinics in need of supplies, now more than ever.
CAMH provides a wide range of clinical care services for patients of all ages and families
“I donated to CamH because I, along with a lot of other people, have dealt with a poorer state of mental health since the COVID-19 pandemic started. It is a consistently growing issue in our society, and while there has been a push towards de-stigmatization, it is still something that I feel needs more understanding and research. I am very grateful TPG gave me the opportunity to donate this holiday season.” Adam Burke
At the beginning of the pandemic, we saw consumers panic buying many household essentials and perishable goods. Grocery stores were frequently cleared out with nothing left on the shelf for the elderly. With the current pandemic and lockdown restrictions, it makes it even more difficult for seniors to be able to purchase groceries and household essentials. This donation will enable SPRINT Senior Care to continue providing safe and affordable programs and services that help seniors live at home and thrive in their communities.
“I have decided to donate money to Sprint Senior Care’s Covid-19 Community Response Team to support their Meals on Wheels program for seniors. The $100 donation provides 2 weeks of hot and frozen meals delivered to seniors’ doors 7 days a week.” Jennifer Phan
“This year, I was feeling disadvantaged at Christmas by the isolation requirements and inability to share a fabulous meal with our large adult family and their children and to enjoy the liveliness and social connection with the whole group.
“Then, I put things into perspective. At least we each have a comfortable shelter and good food to share with those in our household where others do not. It seemed natural to want to share the comfort of a hearty and warm Christmas dinner as best I could during this time and the Scott Mission provided that opportunity through a special donation program in December.
“Through that, TPG’s contribution paid for 24 meals. I, like so many of my colleagues who have been inspired by TPG’s ‘pay it forward’ donation, added to the contribution providing for a total of 60 dinners that I know will be appreciated by people who do not have the ability or means to cook a special dinner for themselves.
“The Scott Mission served over 5700 meals during this period thanks to the many donors and those who were able to prepare and serve these meals despite the restrictions. To me this meant we all could share in the joy of a hearty and warm Christmas dinner, no matter our circumstances.” – Tina Forth
Essex County Community Foundation inspires philanthropy that strengthens the communities of Essex County by managing charitable assets, strengthening and supporting non-profits and engaging in strategic community leadership initiatives.
“This foundation is located in my home province and supports philanthropic endeavors, including most recently a COVID-19 relief fund.” – Dan Gantt
Toronto Humane Society takes in over 3,000 animals every year. It’s thanks to supporting volunteers and donors that each of these animals, who have been through so much, can now find a warm, safe place to rest and receive unconditional love and aid from our caring staff and volunteers.
“They do great work, helping the community, driving the welfare of animals, and in turn, they’ve seen the numbers of adoptions going up which in turn has supported the mental and physical health of those working from home.” – Yussef Hafez
When families have nowhere else to turn, they can find sanctuary and support at the Red Door – moms who have bravely fled abuse to keep their kids safe, refugees seeking sanctuary from war and violence, and families in crisis with nowhere else to go. Donor support helps each family who comes through our doors to heal and build a brighter future.
“In previous years, we had put together holiday gift baskets to support families and this year we wanted to continue our support.” – Amaris Sahota
The Poirier Group has also joined the Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) Call to Action to Support Vulnerable Communities Impacted by COVID-19. This is part of a coordinated, global response to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on those who have been hit hardest by the pandemic. The move, involving 45 CGF members from around the world, including some of the world’s biggest retailers and manufacturers, is a response to a CEO-led initiative for members to step up and act locally to help alleviate the health and economic burdens now being experienced by people globally.