How a toque can help combat homelessness

The Raising the Roof organization sells the hats each year at subway stations to raise money

Toque Tuesday 2019
Michael Braithwaite (left) and Rebecca Mallinson were among those selling toques at Don Mills station for Raising the Roof. Matthew McCarthy/Toronto Observer

Volunteers sold toques around Toronto and across the country for the annual Toque Tuesday campaign on Feb. 5 to prevent homelessness.

Raising the Roof, an organization that works on “long-term solutions to homelessness,” started its ongoing 2019 campaign this month (February), with a goal of raising $100,000.

In Toronto, the toques were sold in various TTC stations, including Yonge and Bloor, Don Mills and St. George, as well as in Nathan Phillips Square and the RBC tower.

“We’re trying to reach a lot of people, and there’s a lot of people coming from the station,” said Raise the Roof volunteer Rebecca Mallinson.

In Don Mills station, volunteers shouted to those walking by and held up the toques for commuters to see.

“It’s fun. All about giving back to the community,” said another volunteer, who asked to remain anonymous.

The campaign features multiple toques, including a limited-edition “I give a damn” version.

The limited edition “I give a damn” toque for the 2019 Toque Tuesday campaign, made by Leo Burnett Company Ltd. (Raise the Roof)

Other colours include heather grey and a black variation with a red line.

The heather grey variation of the Raising the Roof toque. (Matthew McCarthy/Toronto Observer)

Raising the Roof has shifted its goal in 2019 to preventing homelessness. In 2018, the focus was on helping people experiencing homelessness.

Fifty per cent of the funds for each toque sold goes to partner agencies to support the homeless on a local basis. Thirty-five per cent is for campaign costs. The remaining 15 per cent goes to initiatives to prevent homelessness. These include The Upstream Project, which aims to prevent youth homelessness, and Altitude, which provides professional training and work experience for youth.

Toque Tuesday has been an annual event since 1997. This year, a “toque me away” competition was also held for a chance to win two Air Canada tickets to go anywhere in North America.

Toques and other clothing fundraising items can be purchased at Raise the Roof’s website.

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Posted: Feb 8 2019 5:27 pm
Filed under: News