Happy Thanksgiving to all of my Canadian friends and truthfully anyone who just likes the narcosis of turkey and pumpkin pie, no matter what time of year.
I have an abundance of reasons to be thankful this year, as with all previous, but perhaps my greatest thanks is for my ability and resources to give back to my communities: financially, spiritually, however love is needed.
Below, I describe a couple of projects I have underway that will hopefully bear fruit for any number of groups.
As an avid fan of the Toronto Marlies hockey team and avid photographer, I have been combining my passions by photographing the home games.
A couple of years ago, I took that one step further by designing a photo calendar for the hockey season (Oct to Sep), listing all the games & many player birthdays.
The first year, it was just a gift from me to many of the other season seat holders.
Last year, I sold them to anyone interested simply to cover my expenses. At the end of last season, however, my ticket agent & friend Wayne arranged to have the team sign the calendar and we auctioned it off with a team-signed stick on Facebook.
I was blown away.
Between the winning bid and two matching bids, we raised $1050 for You Can Play (American link), a group that supports inclusiveness in sports with a focus on the LGBTQ community.
This year, I am doing the same, but donating $5 from every sale (calendars are $20) to the MLSE Foundation, an org that uses sports to build communities.
Of the 75 calendars I ordered, I only have 16 left after the two-day home opener this weekend (both Toronto victories). Fans from as far away as the United Kingdom are jumping on-board to help support my effort, the team and the MLSE Foundation.
If you’re interested in supporting the effort by purchasing a calendar, feel free to reach out to me on my Facebook page or via my Twitter page. And you can find my photography (not just hockey) on my Instagram account.
Also, Wayne is again having one signed by the team, so watch another auction in the coming months!
I love walking all over the city of Toronto and pretty much anywhere else I visit, photographing both the wildlife and the urban art landscape of graffiti and murals. With that in mind, I recently decided to see if I could use that walking habit to raise some money for charity.
100 Days To A Better World is the result.
For 100 days (to Dec 25), I will record my daily walking distance and my total to-date, inviting people to sponsor my distance (per km).
When the 100 days is completed and the cumulative distance is known, those lovely individuals can then donate their total sponsorship to a charity of THEIR choice.
Rather than focus on a charity I think is worthy, I want to convince people to give their money to groups they think are worthy. We spread the love.
To date, with the generous support of many people, I am earning about $3.30/km.
As of October 8 (Day 23), my total distance is 263.41 km (158 miles); so, we have already raised $870 for various charities.
I appreciate that some people may have an upper limit on what they can afford – in case I go crazy and hit 1000 km (I am frighteningly on pace for that). No problem.
If they can’t afford any money but are willing to cheer me on, then I am honoured to have their support.
Just in doing the exercise, in having the conversation, I feel that I am making this a better world. That charitable organizations may also benefit is the icing.
Making a difference in the world doesn’t have to be difficult or even cost you anything financially.
It can centre on your passions, the things you do in everyday life and/or that bring you joy. It is as much about offering your time and spirit as anything.
It is about being open and loving. It is about being thankful.
I wish everyone all the best both in this season of thanks and throughout the months and years ahead.