In 2020, Stittsville resident Rebecca Fitzgerald launched ToastyToes in Ottawa. She realized the need of socks for people experiencing or were at risk of facing homelessness was a necessity. Emulating the work of the ToastyToes Kitchener-Waterloo and Guelph campaigns, Rebecca set out to collect socks with ToastyToes Ottawa.
“Socks are one of the most requested items in shelters. Never underestimate the difference you can make with a pair of warm, dry socks”, Rebecca Fitzgerald, Founder of ToastyToes Ottawa told Stittsville Central. “Socks deliver warmth, dignity, health, caring and comfort. Please consider donating a pair of new socks or the cost of a pair of socks or more to the ToastyToes Ottawa fund.”
Rebecca is hoping to raise $10,000 for ToastyToes Ottawa to purchase more socks for anyone who needs them to get through the fall and winter. In 2020, the first year of Rebecca’s launch of ToastyToes Ottawa, more than 1,250 pairs of new socks and more than $1,100 was raised to purchase new socks that were distributed into the local community. In 2021, ToastyToes teamed up with the Stittsville Pumpkin Parade to collect socks from the community. The same year, the students and staff at Stittsville Public School held a Toe-November event and donated 504 pairs of socks.
ToastyToes Ottawa launched its 2022 Annual Campaign in October. The campaign collects new pairs of warm socks and raises funds for agencies to buy new socks for people experiencing or who are at risk of homelessness in our region. The campaign runs until December 10, 2022, and with your help participating in this initiative, it can be ensured that local residents have ToastyToes this winter.
Stittsville businesses and the community have partnered with ToastyToes making available drop off locations to collect socks. Jon Martin and Liz Ellwood at Maverick’s Donuts on Stittsville Main Street will be graciously collecting new socks to keep toes warm. An additional two collection boxes are set-up at the arena and pool entrances at the CARdelRec Complex-Goulbourn on Shea Road. Please consider donating socks to this worthy organization and watch for those brightly stripe-covered boxes in the community.
Rebecca told us, “seeing the community support for ToastyToes Ottawa has been surreal! Over the past few years the people of Ottawa have stepped up with new and creative ways to collect new socks and really made the campaign their own through school campaigns, community events, sock trees, dance workshops, the list goes on! Because of the spirit our community brings to this annual campaign we have been able to help people experiencing homelessness in our city“.
As we all know, Covid-19 has presented many challenges and collecting physical socks has been more difficult due to safety protocols so, with the support of the Ottawa Community Foundation the ToastyToes Ottawa fund was launched to collect funds in addition to socks. Grants are also provided so local organizations can purchase socks for the community members they serve. The following groups received both socks and funds in Ottawa in 2021: Shepherds of Good Hope, Minwaashin Lodge, Chrysalis House, The Ottawa Mission, St Luke’s Table, The Well and Centre 454.
In the past two years, in partnership with the Ottawa Community Foundation (OCF) and the Ottawa community, ToastyToes Ottawa has raised $6,800 and collected more than 8,400 pairs of new warm socks.
Monetary donations can be made online through the Canada Helps website. There is still time to donate and participate as ToastyToes will be accepting donations until December 10, 2022. Schools, businesses and the community can participate with local campaigns and sock drives that will go a long way towards providing new warm socks and grants to purchase socks for our most vulnerable neighbours. Reach out to ToastyToes Ottawa for ideas and support. Any donation will help and you will be making a thoughtful impact for someone on our cold winter nights.
About ToastyToes – In Ontario, the ToastyToes campaign began in October 2013 when Sharon Gilroy-Dreher made her first ask for socks on a Facebook post. It was a happy way to remember her mother and mark what should have been her 80th birthday. Since that first campaign, ToastyToes has expanded to 3 Regions and distributed more than 130,000 pairs of new socks. Due to the pandemic the campaign pivoted in 2020 from collecting physical socks, to collecting funds.