An Ottawa teen is asking you to donate to the Ottawa Food Bank for her birthday
OTTAWA -- While most 15-year-olds celebrate their birthday by asking for the newest iPhone or a PS5, one Ottawa teenager wants to celebrate her special day by feeding those in need.
Ava James-Sidoli has a birthday wish.
"For my birthday, I just want to help people," she says.
James-Sidoli is raising money for the Ottawa Food Bank, and using social media to get the word out.
"Me, personally I don’t know if I would be able to go without food on the table and I don't think other people should have to do that," she tells CTV News Ottawa. "I just want to be able to get people food on their table."
Giving isn’t new for her.
"She’s been doing it since she was five years old," says Lizz Laffin, Ava's mom.
Ava remembers as a child always asking her mom for more.
"When I was younger, I would ask my mom, 'Oh, can you pack extra snacks in my lunch, so I can give it to so-and-so because they don’t have as much.'"
She's raised nearly $30,000 for The Ottawa Food Bank, the Kanata Food Cupboard, and the Canadian Cancer Society.
"I’ve always tried to teach Ava that, she has an amazing life; she was brought up with a lot of support, but that’s not the case for everybody," says Laffin. "It’s personal, so we’ve seen families who have needed it most and for her to pay back where she can, and put work into her fundraiser, I’m proud of her."
"She’s absolutely amazing, she’s a real champion ambassador for the Ottawa Food Bank," says Tricia Ross, Community Events and Engagement Coordinator for the Ottawa Food Bank.
The Ottawa Food Bank has created customizable, 'peer-to-peer fundraising' sites, to make giving easier during COVID-19. It’s also a chance to turn your celebration into giving.
"People are looking for different ways to donate, and this online donation page is a really fantastic way to do that in a safe way. If you’re hosting a birthday page, then you can see messages that people might leave you; you can send automatically emails thanking them, you can still celebrate in a way that’s very difficult for us to do right now," says Ross.
If you’re used to donating canned goods at the grocery store, your dollar will go further through donations.
"For every $1 that is donated, we can deliver $5 of worth of food back into the community," said Ross.
You can access Ava’s donation page here on this website.