There are so many quality organizations doing great work right here in Ottawa and around the world. As marketing heats up for Christmas and people shop the sales of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s easy to go on a spending spree without stopping to remember those whose most basic needs go unmet.
Giving Tuesday, held on Nov. 30 this year, is a collective call to invest some of our hard-earned money in the organizations dedicated to making our communities and world a better place. One of these organizations is The Ottawa Mission, who have seen a shocking surge in need since the start of the pandemic.
“COVID-19 has impacted our shelter like no other event in our history,” says Peter Tilley, CEO of The Ottawa Mission. “Our average daily meal count has grown by more than 80 per cent to over 2,500 meals per day.”
Funds raised on Giving Tuesday this year will go to relieve this unbelievable jump in hunger. Meals are being served from The Mission’s Waller Street location, but they are also being prepared and delivered in the Mobile Mission Meals food truck that visits lower-income neighbourhoods throughout the city. If current trends continue, there could be a need for nearly 1 million meals in the coming year, right here in Ottawa.
One of the people who relies on The Mission for meals is a man named Joe. He ended up in Ottawa when he couldn’t find work out East, and he stayed at The Mission when he arrived in the city. He now holds several part-time jobs and rents his own place, but he will need more time to get established before he consistently has enough money for groceries.
Many of The Mission’s clients are single, but there has also been a rise in the needs of families. At this point, a third of clients of the food truck are families with children, and more than half of the food truck’s clients had never needed food or other services from The Mission before the pandemic hit.
While the need can seem overwhelming, a local company has stepped in to make donations on Giving Tuesday go twice as far. DYMON, a long-time valued partner of The Ottawa Mission, is a local storage company that has expanded into retail and custom closet design solutions. They recently entered the Toronto market, and they show no signs of slowing down.
The company was the 2019 winner of the AFP’s “Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist” award. “They don’t ever forget their roots and where they started,” says Erin Helmer, who nominated them for the honour. “They’re a local company that started here in Ottawa, and they are very passionate about giving back.”
DYMON has pledged to match gifts to The Ottawa Mission up to $25,000 on Nov. 30, so it’s the perfect year to celebrate Giving Tuesday. It’s an efficient way to double the impact of a donation and to balance out the consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now in its ninth year, Giving Tuesday helps us give back to our community and to the causes we care about most.