The 7th Annual ODBF Shiver ’N Giver Fundraising Drive has raised $25,038 in support of BGC Ottawa, Cornerstone Housing for Women, Kidney Foundation of Canada and Tim Hortons Foundation Camps. The funds raised helped these local charities meet a variety of needs throughout the National Capital Region. 

In spite of the cancellation of the BeaverTails Ottawa Ice Dragon Boat Festival’s annual races on the Rideau Canal Skateway the foundation’s annual winter campaign, the ODBF Shiver ’N Giver Fundraising Drive, continued its efforts to raise funds for local charities. Traditionally, teams competing at the event also have the opportunity to raise funds for local charities through the campaign. The top seven fundraising teams in both the mixed and women’s divisions would ordinarily participate in the ODBF Shiver & Giver Fundraising Races competing at night on an LED lit race course before the official festival races the next day. Unfortunately, that did not take place this year due to the poor ice conditions and warm temperatures of the season. What did take place, however, was the incredible resilience and generosity of the community. The 2023 ODBF Shiver ‘N Giver Fundraising Drive efforts were led by the top fundraising teams Chinatown Snowboat in 1st place, Fleet of Foote in 2nd place and Lucky Iceholes Trois in 3rd place. These incredible teams and their supporters have been instrumental in this year’s campaign, setting a new fundraising record in the process. Since the inaugural ODBF Shiver ‘N Giver Fundraising Drive in 2017, the foundation’s winter campaign has raised $135,829 in support of charities in the National Capital Region.

The 2023 fundraising drive supported four charities offering programs within the National Capital Region. BGC Ottawa will be providing Eid hampers to families in need throughout Ottawa; Cornerstone Housing for Women provides emergency shelter and supportive housing for a diversity of women; the Kidney Foundation of Canada offers kidney patients an opportunity to experience relaxation and recreation with their loved ones at Camp Dorset and Kivita; and Tim Hortons Foundation Camps are making it possible to create a brighter future for youth in the National Capital Region at Camp des Voyageurs in Quyon, Quebec. 

BGC Ottawa has been providing FREE programming to children and youth in vulnerable neighborhoods for almost 100 years. The BGC Ottawa is one of Ottawa’s largest charitable organizations that serves children and youth. BGC Ottawa provides vital programs and services to approximately 4,500 young members each year. Their goal is to provide a safe, supportive environment where all children/teens from all backgrounds can experience new opportunities, overcome barriers, and develop confidence and life skills. In the spirit of Eid, the BGC Ottawa would like to offer Eid hampers to families in need. The Club has identified countless families in high-priority neighborhoods who celebrate Eid. Eid is a time of celebration, a time to get family together, in the same way that Christmas is celebrated. Islam is the second largest religion in Ottawa, and no Eid support is currently available. There are hundreds of families around Ottawa who are in need of assistance during Eid. In 2023, the holiday will be on April 20th, which marks the end of Ramadan. In addition to bringing together Muslims from diverse socio-economic, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds, Eid also serves as an opportunity for Canadians to gain a deeper understanding of Islamic culture.

Cornerstone Housing for Women provides emergency shelter and supportive housing for a diversity of women. Services are offered in an environment which promotes dignity and a sense of hope. They are committed to public education and advocacy, and strive to increase safe, supportive housing and to end homelessness.  Funds will specifically go to the Housing Improvement and Upkeep Enrichment Project that will help Cornerstone Housing for Women invest in reinvigorating their infrastructure and strengthening their community with safe, dignified, and clean housing for women that live in their four supportive housing residences. Their residences support 110 women a day, 3 meals a day, and a community of support. Over the last two years of this pandemic, Cornerstone has seen a major need for pest control, unit cleaning, and an entire refresh of their building common spaces and landscaping. This pandemic has been especially difficult on women’s wellness and mental health resulting in an even more increased need for emergency shelter and supportive housing.

Kidney Foundation of Canada works to impact kidney patients by investing in medical research to enhance care, educating them on kidney health and kidney disease, and providing them with programs to improve their quality of life. Recreation and relaxation are universal needs, but perhaps even more so for chronic disease patients. For the 1 in 10 Canadian families impacted by kidney disease they are rarely able to take a vacation or experience the joys of an outdoor escape because their family member must have access to life-saving dialysis treatment multiple times a week. The KFOC is partnered with Camp Dorset, a family-camp property equipped with a fully-staffed dialysis center on-site to ensure patients diagnosed attending the camp continue to receive their weekly treatments while experiencing outdoor escape with their family. Camp Dorset offers waterfront activities, wooded hiking trails, campfires, etc, and Ontario’s major attractions off-site. KFOC is also partnered with Camp Kivita, a summer camp for children who have received an organ transplant. Progressive kidney failure affects a child’s ability to lead a healthy, normal life. Every child deserves the chance to experience the wonder of summer camp. At Camp Kivita, medical staff are on-site to monitor and manage visitors’ medical situations while providing an escape in a natural wonderland where friendships and memories replace worries. KFOC subsidies help local children attend camp each summer and CHEO’s pediatric renal unit is one of the largest in the province to take advantage of this program. Our help makes their summer possible. The program benefits families from Ottawa and the surrounding valley where one or more members currently receive dialysis treatment for kidney failure. This includes adult patients, their partners who also serve as caregivers and the children of patients. In 2022, they subsidized 29 families from our region to attend Camp Dorset. Patients in our region also benefit from the annual contribution KFOC makes to Camp Kivita to subsidize children attending that program.

ODBF will also be supporting Tim Hortons Foundation Camps, Camp des Voyageurs Tim Horton is located in Quyon Quebec, who are helping to create brighter futures for youth in the National Capital Region. A leader in youth development programming, Tims Camps support youth from low-income homes between the ages of 12 to 16 – an important developmental time that helps shape who they will become as adults. Through a multi-year, camp-based program, youth learn skills like leadership, resilience and responsibility, which empower them to believe in their potential. Youth are supported to thrive when they return home, to excel in post-secondary education, to succeed at work and to contribute positively to their communities.

As the 2023 ODBF Shiver ‘N Giver Fundraising Drive comes to an end, ODBF extends a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of its dedicated fundraisers, generous donors, and community partners. Donations are being accepted until February 28, 2023.

Antony Cooper