Students and teachers at St. John’s Catholic Elementary School in the Upper Beach have come together in recent weeks to raise funds for HoHoTO, a grassroots social media movement that supports the Daily Bread Food Bank.
It’s the first time in HoHoTO’s five-year history a school group has come forward to raise funds for the cause, which is especially close to those at St. John’s Catholic School as Michael O’Connor-Clarke, one of HoHoTO’s original creators, is the father of two of its students: Lily (Grade 8) and Ruairi (Grade 5).
O’Connor-Clarke died of esophageal cancer in October. Loonies and toonies Shortly after his death, the school’s student council contacted HoHoTO with an offer to collect at least $250 for the movement by donating the loonies and toonies collected at a Nov. 30 dress-down day.
That one-day fundraiser raised $300. Another dress-down day is planned for late December with proceeds also going to HoHoTO, which student council president Connell McIntyre said is a “really good cause” St. John’s is happy to support.
“We support different charities each year and this year we chose HoHoTO,” the Grade 8 student said during a recent interview, adding in the past St. John’s has raised funds for the St. Vincent de Paul Society and the Out of the Cold program at St. Brigit’s Church among other things.
Connell said it’s a great feeling to support the two students at the school who recently lost their father to cancer while also helping feed hungry people this holiday season through the HoHoTO movement.
Elena Yunusov, HoHoTO’s co-organizer, said her team was touched by St. John’s offer to raise funds for the cause.
“We were literally in tears when we got that email. It was so sweet,” she said. “Michael was a good friend to us and a great colleague. It’s really sad that we don’t have Michael with us this year, but it’s really good to see how his commitment to helping others lives on this way.”
HoHoTO will hold its annual holiday event tonight at the Mod Club, 722 College St. Doors open at 7 p.m.
This time around, organizers are aiming to raise $75,000 in food and cash donations. Visit http://hohoto.ca for details.