Secret Santa Guelph and Team Up to Fight Hunger in One Canadian Community

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The season of giving is upon us and for the second year in a row, Elfster is proud to help bring together the generous group, Secret Santa Guelph (#SecretSantaGuelph),  that is using social media to mobilize a community to make a huge difference in the lives of kids in need.

Secret Santa Guelph is a fundraising gift exchange started five years ago by Elfster user Bang Ly (@superbang) based in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. The group he started with just 30 participants has grown to over 250 and is helping to fight food insecurity by raising funds to support The Children’s Foundation’s Food and Friends Program implemented at Brant Avenue Public School in Guelph, the same elementary school Bang attended when he was a kid.

In its inaugural year in 2011, Secret Santa Guelph raised $850 to support the Food and Friends program, which provides healthy food the children can access at any time. With gift cards in hand, Bang took a trip to the school to deliver this much-needed donation, and he realized just how dire the situation is for these children. And he realized he had the power of social media right at his fingertips.

Thanks to Bang’s tireless and selfless efforts, this year’s fundraising efforts are starting out strong with over $5,000 raised in just the first few days to support the Breakfast Program at Brant Avenue Public School and also Food Programs at Brant Avenue Neighbourhood Group. The group of supporters has also grown tremendously, and Bang hopes to have 500 participants in attendance as the group hosts its gift exchange party on December 6, 2015.

“That’s what we’re doing with your tool,” he says. “We’re using [Elfster] to help us fight food insecurity for 895 families. Feel free to scream from the mountain top about our little charity event. We could always use more sponsors.”

And Elfster is proud to be one of this year’s sponsors and support Secret Santa Guelph with its unique technology on the website.

Here’s how the Secret Santa Guelph exchange works:

  • the group sets up a twitter gift exchange using Elfster as its tool to match everyone;
  • participants tweet about what they want to get as a gift with the hash #secretsantaguelph;
  • they then support local businesses by buying a $15 gift for the person they’re matched with;
  • next comes the fun part — a party at a local downtown establishment to bring them business on a slow night;
  • all the participants pledge to donate $30 or more to the Brant Avenue Public School’s breakfast program;
  • the group also solicits corporate sponsorship and runs advertising;
  • the group’s goal is to provide five days of food/week and bridge the gap from March to the end of June for all five days as well after school district funding runs out.

Want to help make a difference? You can make a donation here.  Please note #secretsantaguelph in your first or last name, and select that the gift should go where it is needed most to have the money go directly to Bang’s group.

About Meghan L 212 Articles
Meghan L has been elfing it since she joined the team in 2009. She enjoys coordinating exchanges, talking to organizers, and all things Christmas. Join her for an eggnog latte anytime at