Do Me A Solid: Jake’s Gigantic Give

One of the best parts of PR is helping charities throw fundraisers that benefit those that are less fortunate, or need our help with research, awareness, life’s necessities or simply some toys to play with. We happily pitch in for these events, and they’re often some of the most fun that we work on (or attend!) all year. 

This new section, Do Me A Solid, is devoted to featuring the worthy charities and events that we, and other PR colleagues, are working with. We want to help spread the word about the great charity work that so many are dedicated to. Help us shout it far & wide!  

We’re thrilled to launch this series with a wonderful, child-focused charity called Jacob’s Ladder, The Canadian Foundation for the Control of Neurodegenerative Disease. This charity was created after Jacob Schwartz was born with Canavan disease, an inherited, neurodegenerative disorder that affects his ability to walk, speak, see and eat. Jacob’s parents, Ellen and Jeff Schwartz, were told by doctors that their son would not live past his fourth birthday. 

Photo by Hudson Taylor

This past year, with great fanfare, Jacob celebrated his 13th birthday. Although severely disabled, Jacob loves life and this infectious optimism inspires all around him. Since launching Jacob’s Ladder in 1997, the Schwartz family has organized various annual fundraisers and initiatives raising millions of dollars. 

Jake’s Gigantic Give, presented by Scotiabank and Fabricland, is a unique holiday fundraiser where children can experience the power of giving back during the holidays.

Participating children (and adults) come in to a big “warehouse” full of 10,000 donated toys, from Mastermind Toys and Spin Master Toys. They will choose one to give to a child in need to one of seven charities (SickKids, Variety Club of British Columbia, Jewish Family & Child Services, Children’s Aid Society, Chum City Christmas Wish, Chai Lifeline, Starlight Children’s Foundation Canada and the Jean Tweed Centre). In the end, they can choose a gift for themselves, teaching them that giving always has its rewards. 

As well as the fun gift giving experience, there will be tons of entertainment and snacks, including food donated by Pizza Pizza, Kernels, Hershey’s and Cake For You (750 cupcakes!).

The toy-filled fundraiser expects more than 2,000 people to participate and over 200 volunteers to help with logistics and act as “Mission Makers” – working with the kids to choose their gifts. 

Everyone is welcome!  

What: Jake’s Gigantic Give
Where: 150 Lesmill Road, Toronto, Ontario
Why: To support local charitable organizations and help fund research of neurodegenerative diseases.
When: Saturday, November 27 and Sunday, November 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day
Admission Fee: Adult admission to the lounge is by voluntary donation; $25-admission fee for participants
We hope to see you there. x

First Jobs: Christina the professional present wrapper

Ah, first jobs. You might have babysat three screaming children, steamed designer clothing or blended McFlurries for $6 an hour. First jobs are far from glamourous for most people, but they offer more money than the tooth fairy ever gave you (usually). They also make up who we are today and are part of our journey to where we are now. Today brings us to a new series where all of us from the Fourth Floor, as well as some of our visitors, will tell you about their fun (and not so fun) – First Jobs.

Check out how our own Christina went wild with financial independence with her first job as a “professional present wrapper”.
My first job was at Mastermind Toys in Mississauga, a really cool toy company. I worked during the Christmas holidays as a “professional present wrapper.” 
I was the first of my friends to get a part-time job, which meant while everyone else was hanging out, I was getting paper cuts, trying to wrap soccer balls, and listening to Raffi’s Christmas music. How do you even wrap a round object properly? I still don’t know. 
 Tools of the trade. Image source.
Despite the dorky “present wrapper” title, the job was awesome because it was so close to home that I was able to walk to and from my shifts. The only uniform piece was a red apron, which I could quickly take off the second friends walked through the door. 
Best of all, the boy I had a crush on at the time worked at the grocery store in the same plaza, where I mildly stalked him. The $6.85 per hour I made was also much more than the $5 per week allowance my parents gave me (Five bucks a week, Mom? Really?! I know you’re reading this.).  
I worked long hours, or hours I thought were long at the time, for an entire two-week period to be able to afford – *drum roll* – floor seats for the Backstreet Boys concert. Since a concert at 14 without supervision in Toronto was altogether out of the question for my suburban parents, my best friend and I rocked out to I Want It That Way, our favourite song, alongside her dad.
Not only was Mastermind Toys my first job, it allowed me to buy tickets to my first concert. Helloooooo freedom!