Elgin Street Public School filled its gym with local sales vendors and eager shoppers on Nov. 15 for its One Stop Shop fundraising event.
The event brought a variety of local businesses under the same roof for the day as community residents browsed the products and purchased gifts for the holiday season. A portion of profits from the event are shared by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the school’s parent council.
Participating businesses must donate a minimum of 10 per cent of their commission; however, many donate more than that.
Run by the school’s parent council and co-organizers Lisa Choi and Tanya McClure, this is the first year that the school has hosted the event.
Choi and McClure started the event two years ago, under the title Fifty Shades of Shopping, as a fundraiser for a mutual friend who had cancer.
“She couldn’t work and was put on disability,” says Choi. “We started doing it as a fundraiser for her and we donated the money to her oncologist for treatment research.”
The event was successful in its first year, raising $10,000. Choi and McClure wanted to build off this success for the following year’s event, but with a different beneficiary.
“The friend with cancer no longer needed funding for herself because her treatment had been working and was covered by her benefits,” says McClure. “So we started looking for another beneficiary, and a close friend of her’s was a nurse at CHEO.”
The event was held in 2013 as a fundraiser for a child named Abbigail Morreau, who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma-associated OMS, a type of cancer that affects only one in 10 million people a year worldwide. Choi and McClure made a donation to Abbigail through CHEO. Abbigail continues to fight for her life, as the cancer has spread further since last year.
The money raised at this year’s event is going to anonymous families, chosen by CHEO’s social workers, in need of financial assistance for the holiday season.
“We’re donating to . . . families who are just financially strapped because their child is in treatment,” said McClure. “We donate to them by gift cards, so whatever gift cards they’ve requested, whether it’s gas, groceries, Toys ‘R’ Us.”
With expected earnings of about $2,000 from this year’s event, the money will be split 50/50 between CHEO and the school’s parent council.
Sacha Singh, a member of the parent council, says its portion of the money will be used for costs that are not covered by the school board, such as dance classes, arts instruction, a swimming program and new technology for the school.
“Whatever we can do to provide funds to help the experience be the best it can be for students, that’s what we want to do,” says Singh.
With 25 vendors participating this year, Choi and McClure are grateful for the interest that has been generated among local businesses.
“We had people asking if they could sell here, people that I had never heard of, so it’s great!” says Choi.
Lisa Casselman, a local consultant for Scentsy, a company that sales flameless candles, has had a table at the event for three years.
“I’ve had many new customers and contacts from doing the events,” says Casselman. “It’s nice to know that so much money is being raised and going back to the organizations that are affiliated.”
Singh is hopeful that the event will take place for at least a few more years to come.
“We’re hoping that people going by see it and hear about it and tell their friends so we can get a little bit more momentum for the event going forward.”