It’s the end of week 12 of social distancing in Toronto; which means it’s also been about 12 weeks since I formally incorporated Caribou Gifts Inc. It’s been a crazy few months, but I know my family is incredibly lucky to be healthy, able to stay home and continue to work. Over the last few days I have also begun to better understand and appreciate the privilege my family has because of the colour of our skin.
My recent reflection has strengthened my commitment to giving back to the community where I am doing business. At the end of April I decided one way I could give back was to donate a portion of all sales from May 2020 to Woodgreen Community Services. WoodGreen is supporting some of Toronto’s most vulnerable residents during this pandemic; WoodGreen helps people find safe, affordable housing, seniors live independently, homeless and marginalized people get off the streets and offers a wide range of mental health support.
I am thrilled that thanks to everyone’s support donate $400 to this great cause.
I know everyone is experiencing COVID-19 and recent events differently. I know many parents and adults are experiencing a significant amount of extra stress and anxiety. I also know that many children are feeling additional stress and anxiety during this challenging time. I am working on listening and learning and reflecting. I am working on continuing to support my community and do even better as time goes on.
Caribou Gifts is here to help and support families in the following ways:
Busy Boxes: I decided to create Busy Boxes to help out parents and children during this challenging time of self-isolation. Busy Boxes are packed full of educational and engaging activities that were specifically selected to encourage independent play. Further, the books, puzzles, toys and crafts were curated to develop age-appropriate abilities such as fine motor skills, problem solving, critical thinking, literacy and creativity through art and free play. Products were sourced from brands you know and trust to ensure product quality is paramount. I am constantly adding new products to this category to provide variety and continued support for families.
- Heart of a Hero Journal: Caribou Gifts is now stocking the Heart of a Hero Journal, which was designed for kids aged 5-10. This journal was written and design by Toronto-based women Jenn Wu and Danielle Lewis. The journal’s goal is to introduce a growth mindset, boost confidence and encourage gratitude. It will help your child build tools to handle stress, anxiety and develop a positive mindset. It contains hours of activities to train their brains for a positive mindset at a formative age.
- Crazy Forts: Crazy Forts are a Canadian-made toy and my number one best selling item. This toy has been recognized several times for encouraging free play and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). But I mention it here because in addition to the STEM benefits it’s important to know that forts can also provide emotional support by helping kids feel safe and help them regulate their bodies and emotions. The Washington Post recently published an article called “Why kids love building forts — and why experts say they might need them more than ever” which describes the countless benefits kids get from playing with forts.
- Care Packages for Front Line Workers: Do you want to thank a front line worker? Our Gourmet Food baskets coupled with a handmade card make an excellent gift. Shopping for a front line worker or want to send a gift to a front line workers child? Contact me (email@example.com) for a discount code.
- Books for Kids about Diversity, Inclusion and Kindness: I have a number of books on order that may help parents start important discussions with their children about racisism, kindness and current events. I will be donating 100% of the proceeds from this collection to BLAC (Black Legal Action Center) and Black Lives Matter. BLAC provides free legal services for low or no income Black residents of Ontario.
- Sourcing from Minority-Owned Business Owners: I have been working hard to source from women-owned business owners but I am now publicly making the commitment to source more from minority-owned business owners as well. You can expect to see more new products coming soon.
Do you have another idea or way Caribou Gifts can support the community during this time? Comment below or reach out to me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.