By Ziyaad Mia
I founded Give 30 (GIVE30.ca) in 2012 on the spark of an idea I had almost 15 years ago.
The “Eureka” moment came when I was putting away my coffee cup at work one Ramadan, joking with a colleague that fasting is so great, it saves money.
Ramadan does save people money because they aren’t eating during the day.
Since a key part of Ramadan is learning about hunger and having empathy for (and helping) those in need, it seemed a perfect way to raise money to fight hunger.
Importantly, because that spirit of Ramadan is pretty much universal I wanted the initiative to be open to everyone regardless of faith or background.
The idea is simple:
- If you’re fasting contribute the money you save (or more) from not eating during the day for the month.
- If you’re not fasting brown bag your lunch to save money and/or put a value on your coffee and snacks for 30 days so you can make a contribution.
You’ll be amazed at the impact a small behavioural change can have when everyone joins in.
How You Can Help
- Please go to www.give30.ca/donate and make a donation for your 30 days of savings (or even more if you are able). Donations are processed by the partner food banks and they issue tax receipts for eligible donations.
- Invite your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours to follow your example by telling them why you support Give 30.
- Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/give30 and share stuff from there to your facebook pals during the campaign. Social media is one of the biggest drivers of the campaign so please leverage your networks and influence to bring more people to the movement. Change your Facebook profile photo to the Give 30 logo for the duration of the campaign.
- Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/give_30 and help keep the conversation going about hunger and how to help fight it with Give 30.
- Spread the word far and wide to your networks across country.
- Add a tagline to your email signature for the duration of the campaign.
- Become a Give 30 Ambassador.
- If you want to do more just drop me a note with your ideas.
How Give 30 Has Done So Far
Give 30 has raised almost $400,000 across Canada since inception. Here’s a snapshot of the last 4 campaigns:
- June 2012 initiative developed and launched
- ~$38,000 raised in 2012 (food bank: Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto);
- ~$92,000 raised in 2013 (food banks: Daily Bread, Edmonton’s Food Bank, Calgary Food Bank and Les Banques alimentaires du Quebec (entire province));
- ~$105,000 raised in 2014 (food banks: Daily Bread, Edmonton’s Food Bank, Calgary Food Bank, Les Banques alimentaires du Quebec, Winnipeg Harvest, The Mississauga Food Bank, the Ottawa Food Bank, North York Harvest, Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, Kingston Food Bank and Regina Food Bank); and
- ~148,000 raised in 2015 (food banks: Daily Bread, Edmonton’s Food Bank, Calgary Food Bank, Les Banques alimentaires du Quebec, Winnipeg Harvest, The Mississauga Food Bank, the Ottawa Food Bank, North York Harvest, Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society, Kingston Food Bank and Regina Food Bank).
Give 30 is now a truly national campaign, spanning 6 provinces, 4 time zones and 10 of the most populous regions/cities in Canada. Our 11 food bank partners are some of the largest food banks in Canada, serving tens of thousands of people in neighbourhoods across this amazing giant country.
As an added bonus, Give 30 has generated inspiring stories of compassion across country. Several generous donors have made $30,000, $10,000 and $5,000 gifts, and young Simon of Toronto who became a Give 30 Ambassador in 2013 (at age 8) continues to set a fine example by donating and being a Give 30 Ambassador. Last year we launched with an amazing donation from a diverse group of men at the Joyceville Minimum Security Correctional Facility in Ontario who raised $1,400 for Give 30. This is the Give 30 spirit in action.
This year we kick off Give 30 nationwide with these great events:
- 3rd Annual Fast & Furious Feast in Winnipeg June 3 (check it out here);
- Give 30 Brunch in Montreal June 4 (check it out here); and
- Civic Muslims 2nd Annual GIVTAR dinner event for Give 30 in the Toronto area (date and venue coming soon – check Give 30 or Civic Muslims Facebook pages).
If you want to get a sense of Give 30 across country check out this great story in the Toronto Star: Toronto Star Give 30 2014. New media coverage will be shared on social media and posted to the News page of the Give 30 site where you can also look at previous coverage.
Every Gift Makes a Difference
Consider that the average food bank client has, after housing costs, about $5 a day for all their needs (including food, transit etc.). I’ve spent more than that on a fancy coffee and a cookie some days. I’m not asking anyone to completely give up their small pleasures in life. All I am asking is that we be deliberate in our choices and mindful of how our neighbours live, what challenges they face, and put even our small pleasures in context.
Despite living in one of the wealthiest societies on the planet, we still have people in this country who go to bed hungry. Canada does not have a food scarcity problem, but a problem of economics, social supports and distribution of wealth. That’s why almost 900,000 people use food banks each month in Canada, and one third of those people are children. We can do much better, and you can help.
Hunger knows no race, religion, ethnicity, creed, gender or age and that’s why it’s important for everyone to join Give 30.