With the winter cold finally here, the Sherbourne Health Centre, St. Christopher House and Houselink are teaming up with Raising the Roof to help raise funds to combat homelessness.
The organizations have taken to selling toques with a big push on Toque Tuesday (Feb. 5) when they went out into the community selling warm winter headwear for $10.
The funds from Toque Tuesday and ongoing toque sales will support the three organizations’ homeless programming.
“Sherbourne Health has been serving homeless people in the downtown area for about 10 years and this will help us with funding for our programs,” said Sherbourne Health Centre CEO Suzanne Boggild. “We’re really pleased to partner with Raising the Roof because the funds that are raised in the community stay in the community.”
Boggild noted funds raised through the toque campaign will help fund Sherbourne Health Centre’s infirmary, which provides temporary shelter for homeless following hospital care, its Women in Need Clinic (WINK) which supports homeless and underhoused women, and Supporting Our Youth.
“A number of the people we see here are youth and it’s estimated that 40 per cent of the homeless youth in Toronto are part of the lesbian, gay, bi and trans community,” she said.
Lambrina Nikolaou of St. Christopher House noted homeless youth will also benefit from her organization’s partnership with Raising the Roof. Funds raised through the initiative will support the organization’s Toronto Youth Job Corps, which helps connect youth with work, school and training.
“We have a number of youth out selling toques (Feb. 5), raising awareness and letting people know what it means to be a homeless youth in Toronto,” she said. “The program really empowers youth to make a difference in their life and do it from where they’re at (in life) right now.”
Sherbourne Health Centre was looking to sell a total of 1,200 Raising the Roof toques and had already sold some 500 prior to the organization’s participation in Toque Tuesday.
The organization will continue to sell toques out of its headquarters, at 333 Sherbourne St., in hopes of raising more funds.
St. Christopher House, meanwhile, typically sells about 1,000 toques a year, bringing in $10,000 for its youth programming. The organization was hoping to reach that target again this year and will continue to sell toques after Toque Tuesday at its 1033 King St. W. location.