Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd, Brokerage
HELEN BRAITHWAITE - SALES REPRESENTATIVE
CHESTNUT PARK REAL ESTATE LTD., BROKERAGE
1300 Yonge Street, Suite 100 Toronto, Ontario M4T 1X3
416-925-9191 helenbraithwaite@chestnutpark.com

Toronto Luxury Real Estate: “12 Days of Giving” 2020

Social media has been flooded with many “12 Days of Christmas” giveaways. What a wonderful way to get into the Christmas spirit! During the COVID-19 pandemic, the real estate industry has remained relatively unaffected as we are considered an essential business. We’ve proceeded with COVID-19 protocols in place that allow us to safely carry out our work. For that I feel grateful and I would like to give back to the community. For 12 days, I have been making donations to a different Toronto charity each day and I hope to encourage my followers to join me, the links to the organizations are listed below. Giving back is a sure way to get into the festive spirit under difficult circumstances.

The first charity was Salvation Army’s Toy Mountain, Toymountain.ca  You can make a cash donation safely from your home or drop off a toy at various locations in the city. When you support the Salvation Army and Toy Mountain you are making the joy of Christmas possible to families struggling to make ends meet. No child should wake up Christmas morning without a gift under the tree. A small gesture can go a long way to putting a smile on a child’s face at Christmas.

For my second day of giving, I donated to Ernestine’s Women’s Shelter. The pandemic has brought added stress to many households and sadly, domestic abuse is on the rise. Ernestine’s shelter provides a safe haven for women and children fleeing abuse by offering them a roof over their head, as well as the support and assistance they require to start their new chapter in life.

For Day 3 of giving, I donated to CAMH. I am proud to say that Chestnut Park Real Estate Limited has also provided a generous donation to CAMH, using the funds that had been allocated to our annual Christmas party, which will instead be virtual this year. The pandemic has caused increased anxiety, substance abuse issues and a higher suicide rate. It is a worthy cause to help those that need mental health treatment. Please remember it is never too late to ask for help. We are all vulnerable now as we endure social isolation and feel a little helpless as we watch the COVID-19 numbers rise worldwide. Together we stay strong as 2021 will bring a vaccine.

For Day 4 of giving, I donated to The Stop, an organization in Wychwood Barns that provides healthy nutritious meals to the underprivileged.  Many of us sheltering at home have the luxury of buying food online, ordering takeout or trying a prepared meal service. There are small businesses struggling and food banks are low on food due to a higher volume of people relying on them.

Day 5 of giving was to Children’s Book Bank, an organization located in the heart of Regent Park that provides books to kids to improve literacy and encourage a love of reading. The Children’s Book Bank is a great spot to drop off those gently used books your kids are finished with where they will get a new life and make a child’s day. The Book Bank is run by a team of enthusiastic volunteers who have actually worked through COVID-19 as the community relies on it. It is underfunded and without generous donations it couldn’t stay operating.

Day 6 of giving was toward an organization dear to my heart, Camp Oochigeas, located in Muskoka with a Toronto location for day camp activities. This camp is truly magical in that it gives children fighting cancer a little break from it all and provides them the opportunity to participate in campfires, water sports and arts and crafts.  I have participated consistently in the Muskoka Rocks 10K and the Sporting Life 10K to support this cause. This year I ran both races virtually. In the face of COVID-19, the camp couldn’t operate this year, so they came up with “Camp in a Box” to give the children some camp activities to do remotely. Here’s hoping the camp is back up and running in 2021 as it is a fabulous experience for kids with cancer.

Day 7 of giving was a donation to Front Line Fund. This fund goes to help hospitals and health care workers across Canada fight COVID-19. Resources are tight and hospitals need all the help they can get. Christmas will be smaller gatherings this year and it makes for a different Christmas. We need to keep mindful that we are helping all the health care workers by staying home and social distancing to help keep the numbers down. Hospitals are getting to capacity, so any contribution can possibly help with an extra nurse in ICU, more PPE and increased testing capabilities.

For Day 8 of giving, I have donated to Daily Bread Food Bank.  This organization was involved in the #TorontoMiracle, a food drive that took place December 5th throughout the city. Food can still be dropped off at fire stations and participating grocery stores in the city. I have dropped items off at a nearby Metro store.   Daily Bread Food Bank is also happy to receive cash donations to buy the appropriate items the food bank may be low on.

For Day 9, I chose to donate to Toronto Sick Kids Hospital. This Christmas will be different for all of us, limiting the sizes of gatherings to help stop the spread of COVID-19. As tough as this will be for some, we need to remember there are kids that have to spend Christmas in the hospital. Sick Kids is a world-renowned hospital and they continue to make progress against many childhood illnesses. I am happy to contribute to that cause. Ryan Reynolds is a huge supporter of Sick Kids and his Ugly Christmas Sweater adorns the entrance for Toronto Sick Kids to encourage donations. Samsung will match donations made up to December 24th up to $100,000.

On Day 10, I chose to donate to Habitat for Humanity. As a Realtor, I see both the importance of home ownership and the pride of ownership. To see the transformations to people’s lives when they are provided a home is truly heartwarming. I love the fact that they have the recipients participate in the construction of their home and that they also get to see what the many selfless volunteers are doing to help them attain their dream of a home. I have volunteered multiple times with this charity, and it is very fulfilling. In lieu of volunteering, Habitat for Humanity always welcomes cash donations.

For Day 11 of giving, I chose to donate to Evergreen, a charity that is part of the Brick Works and many other environmental projects across Canada. I have been a regular ravine walker since moving to Toronto over 30 years ago. It is my mindful time. There has been a lot of talk recently about nature and mental health. The Japanese call this forest bathing, as walking through nature (barefoot in their culture) creates a feeling of calmness. I have noticed since COVID-19 began in March there are far more people out enjoying the wonderful trail system that Toronto has to offer. I think it is one of the silver linings in all this. People are stepping away from technology and Zoom calls to enjoy nature and get fresh air! Evergreen Brick Works is ever-expanding and offers a host of outdoor programs and events for the community and is a worthy cause that is helping to keep Toronto in tune with nature.

On Day 12, I donated to Coveted Canines. Those that know me understand what a dog lover I am. This organization rescues dogs from terrible situations and finds a forever home for them as well as many foster homes in place. Coveted Canines founder Carly Werle also has Coveted Kennels and Sanctuary just outside the city of Toronto where she now also takes in Pigs, Goats, Chickens and more.  She sells her farm fresh eggs and will deliver them too Toronto. Any animal rescued by this organization will have a new lease on life!