Looking for Ways to Give Back

ING DIRECT Vancouver Cafe

Last night, Krystal and I attended a presentation on blogging and the venue for it just happened to be ING DIRECT’s Vancouver Café. Over the last week, I’ve watched the ING DIRECT team start a cross-country road trip (which I’m so jealous of) from Newfoundland to Victoria (yay Victoria!) to help spread the word about Five Hole For Food, a national non-profit organization that collects food and raises awareness for local food banks across Canada. From their updates on Twitter, to the beautiful and inspiring pictures and videos they post on Instagram and YouTube, ING DIRECT is pulling out all the stops to help spread the word.

Now, I don’t know about you, but this is the kind of passion I’m drawn to, when I look for ways to give back. And charitable giving is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. When I first moved to Vancouver, I knew I wanted to start volunteering again. I was a volunteer dog walker at the Victoria BC SPCA for years before I moved to Toronto, and since then I haven’t done much of anything. So, the first thing I did was contact my local BC SPCA to find out if they needed dog walkers. The short answer was no and to check back in the fall. Hmm. I then contacted my local animal shelter to see if they needed any volunteers but, after discovering their euthanasia policy, quickly realized I couldn’t see myself there.

Since dog walking isn’t in my immediate future, I’ve decided to focus my efforts elsewhere. I haven’t talked about this on the blog much before but financial literacy for youth is at the forefront of my mind these days. I’ve been downloading and reading any report or study I can find that has data on the level of financial literacy Canadian students walk out of high school with and, based on what I’ve read and what I know personally, I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed – and fast. I can (and will) write an entire blog post on this soon… well, as soon as I can turn the fantasies of what I’d like to do (make personal finance an entire course students can take in high school, go on a cross-country road trip to give presentations at various schools, see scholarships awarded to students who promote financial literacy, etc. etc. etc.) into realities (perhaps just give presentations at local schools).

Whew! It felt good to get that out there.

If you’ve ever tried to search for organizations that promote financial literacy for youth in a fun and inspiring way… well, you can imagine that my results came up short. I did discover that I could potentially volunteer twice/year to teach middle school students Junior Achievement of BC’s Dollars with Sense program. I have applied, and would love the opportunity to do so, but I think – no, I know – that there’s room for so much more than this. (Slow down, Cait… it’s past midnight and you need some sleep!)

Cait Flanders Five Hole for Food Donation

Until I can wrap my head around the different ways I could build up this cause, I’m still looking for other tangible ways to give back. ING DIRECT’s campaign with Five Hole For Food is just one example of how we can all help in our own communities. Over the past three years, FHFF has collected more than 200,000 pounds of food for local food banks serving more than 10 million Canadians. I made a small donation to the Vancouver Food Bank last night but there are a couple ways you can help too.

From now until August 31st, if you open an ING Investment Savings Account (ISA) with $100 or more, you’ll get a $25 bonus and an interest rate of 2.5% on your account for 90 days. Yes, I get a $25 bonus every time someone uses my Orange Key too. So how about this? I’ll donate all of the bonuses I get from now until July 31st to Five Hole for Food. Orange Key: 38888248S1

If you’re not a big believer in donating cash, donating non-perishable food items to your local food bank is just one way you can be sure your money is going where you intend it to.

What’s your favourite way to give back?

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