by Rhonda Massad
November marked the 10th annual Loonie Toonie challenge at John Abbott College (JAC). This year a generous donor matched the more than $9,000 raised by the students with a dollar for dollar donation bringing the amount to over $18,000.
According to JAC’s Foundation’s Executive Director, Barth Gillian the Loonie fundraiser was created more than a decade ago by the John Abbott community made up of faculty, staff, students, to help JAC students in need by supporting the student assistance fund (SAF). Today the event has been adapted to incorporate the toonie.
Each year, students and faculty stick one-and two-dollar coins on an extremely long strip of tape that runs from one end of the campus and winds its way to the other end of the campus. All funds go the SAF, which helps John Abbott College students in times of financial crisis.
One in ten students at JAC receive assistance from the SAF. Support for students in financial difficulty can include various cost of living expenses such as rent, transit or food. It can help single parents with daycare expenses, fees, books and supplies. It also supports the campus food bank.
“All this support is meant to help students in financial difficulty, so it is completely separate from the scholarships and bursaries that the JAC Foundation provides” Gillian explained in an email exchange with The Suburban.
Gillian said their were more than 70 volunteers who worked during the day promoting the loonie-toonie challenge, asking for funds and helping people put money on the lines
The final count at the end of the day was close to $9,000.
What is exciting is that an anonymous donor, someone who believes in the student assistance fund, “ he explained, “ matched dollar for dollar, the money raised by the challenge. This is a real community event to support our students.”
The SAF is currently preparing 18 holiday baskets for students in need of a little support during the holiday season.