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Do you have a story about an act of kindness that you witnessed, performed, or received? Help inspire kindness across our city by sharing it with us!

All stories will be reviewed by our team and those selected will be shared on our social media channels and on our website. 

How to share your story:

E-mail your story to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Please feel free to include a profile picture or your social media handles with your submission.

Kindness Stories

  • "In the past, I've been playing Santa at special events of the Caring and Sharing Exchange Ottawa. Since I wasn't able to do so this past Christmas Season due to my age (77) and my susceptibility to catch the COVID-19 virus, I opted instead to hold numerous Santa Virtual Sessions with children of all ages, which were most appreciated. Whenever I did so, I encouraged the participating families to consider making a donation to the Caring and Sharing Exchange. In addition, since my birthday occurred around Christmas time, I selected this organization as the recipient of a funding raising campaign via Facebook". - Raymond Tremblay (Santa Raymond)
  • "My good friend had to postpone her wedding due to Covid. She was going through a difficult time so I decided to drop off a “thinking of you” care package to try and lift her spirits. It contained hand made scrunchies and our favourite wine. It wasn't going to change her circumstances, but I know it would make her feel supported and cared for, letting her know she had people to lean on." - Anonymous Entry
  • "Like many other brides, Covid-19 prevented me and my partner from having the wedding we had originally planned and paid for. I was supposed to be married in my childhood church in my hometown, but ended up having a small wedding in our backyard to meet Covid safety guidelines. We were grateful to still be getting married, but these new plans meant that my elderly (and at-risk) grandfather would not be able to attend. My good friend surprised me before the big day with a locket containing a picture of my grandfather on one side and a message from him to me on the other. This small gift meant so much to me and made me feel like a part of him was with me that day." - Anonymous Entry

Questions? Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 613-226-6434.

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SISS perfect gift for teacher appreciation donate button

Teachers work so hard to support our students!
To show your appreciation for their kindness, care, and knowledge, consider saying thanks in a way that counts by donating to the Sharing in Student Success program in their honour!
Your donation with provide a child in need in Ottawa with a fully supplied backpack. Click on the button below, and select "In Honour Of",  under ECard Category Choose "Teacher Gift" to select your card. It is the perfect end of year gift!


button give the gift of learning

A Gift of Hope

Just $50 provides a local child in need with a backpack filled with grade-appropriate school supplies, so they start the school year with their head held high, ready to learn! You also have the option of presenting a digital e-card to the recipient of this special gift.

Help Ottawa Children and Youth Succeed

Supplying backpacks to children from families in need is part of our Sharing in Student Success (SISS) program. Our goal is to supply Ottawa children and youth with backpacks filled with all the supplies needed for their grade level to help them return to school in the fall prepared to face any challenges so they can succeed in their studies. Without programs like SISS to help, many of these young learners would go without.

Maximize Your Gift

At the Caring and Sharing Exchange, we triple every financial gift made to Sharing in Student Success. That means we buy 3 backpacks complete with school supplies for the price of 1!


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Teacher Appreciation Gift - FAQs

When will a child receive the backpack?

Backpacks are distributed through agencies around the city prior to the first day of school. We work throughout the summer preparing backpacks, so they are ready in the weeks leading up to the first day of school.

How do I know a child receiving a backpack really needs it?

All households with children and youth on our list must qualify as low income under the LICO (low income cut-off) measure. This qualification is reviewed by Statistics Canada on an annual basis.

What school supplies are provided in a backpack?

Backpacks are divided by grade level. Each backpack contains all the grade-appropriate school supplies according to the Boards of Education to ensure each child is prepared to participate in all classroom activities, for a successful year of learning.

How many children get backpacks?

In 2023, we were fortunate to provide all 4,198 children on our list with assistance. The demand for back-to-school assistance has significantly increased, last year we saw an overwhelming 31% increase in the need, and we expect that trend to continue this year.

Will the teacher know or see the backpack I gift in their name?

For privacy reasons, the teacher will not see the gifted backpack or get to know the child that receives the backpack. However, from time to time we do share stories and testimonials from recipients with donors and in our newsletter.

Can I include a personalized message to my teacher?

Yes! As you complete your donation, you’ll have the option to include a personalized message as part of the e-card you send to your teacher.

Do you supply children in cities other than Ottawa?

We are a  local charity and only provide assistance to children and families within the City of Ottawa.

Our Co-ordination Service is the backbone of our existence. As the reason for our organization's birth way back in 1915, the Co-ordination Service we provide to the Ottawa community ensures that no one in need of assistance goes without. This service also allows the donor dollars being given to nearly 250 community organizations to be distributed evenly and fairly. The Co-ordination service is provided to these agencies free of charge.

santaJust like Santa, we're making a list and checking it twice!

The Caring and Sharing Exchange works closely with many different agencies that either provide assistance or request assistance for their clients. During this process, we collect the names of the individuals other organizations are helping, as well as the names of the individuals who still need help. Caring & Sharing cross-references the names in order to ensure that (a) all clients in need are matched with an organization providing assistance, and (b) no client is being helped by more than one organization. By running these "duplication checks" we ensure that assistance is distributed evenly within the community and that everyone applying for assistance receives it.

This has saved the community and agencies nearly $300,000 over the past three years!

coordination_greyAre you helping Ottawa residents? Save time and money by joining forces with other caring agencies like yours:

  • You can save your organization money by not providing help to someone who has already received assistance;
  • You can save other caring organizations like yours money by letting them know who you have helped;
  • You can assure donors that their gift is used in the most efficient way possible, going to where it is most needed;
  • We provide this service free of charge.

Call 613-226-6434 ext. 232 to register your agency for this program.

The Caring and Sharing Exchange currently runs the following programs. Find out how each of them helps the Ottawa community!

christmas_exchange_program_e_small The Christmas Exchange Program provides redeemable gift vouchers or food hampers to individuals and families who are in need in our community during the holiday season.
siss_logo1 The Sharing in Student Success Program provides grade appropriate stuffed backpacks to children from families in need so that every child in Ottawa can return to school on equal footing, ready to learn.
coordination_grey The Co-ordination Service is the backbone of the organization! We work with more than 200 agencies in the city to ensure that no one in need is forgotten and that both school and Christmas assistance is distributed evenly and fairly within the community. We do this through the help of duplication checks and appropriate distribution coordination.


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Christmas Program E

The Christmas Exchange Program has a long history as the first direct-assistance program provided by the Caring and Sharing Exchange.
Born in 1915 under the Ottawa Welfare Bureau, the Christmas Exchange assistance program provides those in need with food hampers or much-  needed  redeemable gift certificates during the holiday season, providing recipients with a sense of hope and dignity during an otherwise difficult time of year.
If you want to put your personal touch on Christmas giving this year, consider becoming a Christmas hamper sponsor, and bring a warm festive meal directly to someone in need!  To learn more or to register as a hamper sponsor today, CLICK HERE.

Words of Gratitude From Those You Have Helped


"I am writing to thank you for the help I received this December.  I live in a seniors' apartment and the majority of us are struggling to stretch our low incomes to cover food and necessitiies.  This much needed and greatly appreciated gift will definitetly help.

When I received my food hamper, I was so excited, I was like a kid opening a box.  The hamper was truly the high point of my whole winter season and the only time this year that I was unable to enjoy turkey.

I am aware how difficult it has been over the past 22 months of the pandemic, for organizations such as yours to effectively fundraise.  Please extend my heartfelt gratitude to your generous donors.   Thank you for your kindness and caring."

- Christmas Exchange Recipient


"I am deeply humbled and grateful for this gift of food security that your program is assisting us with and the many donations that make it possible. My kids are teenagers now but there is always that instinct to provide at least shelter and food security. When I was able to work, I could at least manage that. 

It has been getting quite hard to do as the cost of everything goes up. It sometimes becomes a choice between paying rent or paying for groceries. We go without the extras these days.

Thank you and all the donors who make it possible to help feed the families of the communities that are currently facing very challenging times. 

Your generosity in time and money is greatly appreciated. May you continue to shine…”

-  Christmas Exchange Recipient

As you can see, just knowing that there are people like you who care makes a big difference in the lives of our recipients. 

The Christmas Exchange - By The Numbers

Christmas Exchange Program 2023 2022 2021
Total number of people who requested assistance through the Christmas Exchange program 26,921 23,068 19,393
Total number of people helped through the Christmas Exchange Program 26,921 23,068 19,393
Number of Families helped by C&SE (Households) 8,889 7,473 6,307
Number of Seniors helped by C&SE 3,736 3,068 2,626
Number of Children helped by C&SE (under 18 years of age1) 11,853 10,200 8,844
Number of duplicates found for food assistance 1,429 1,268 1,024
Community savings from processing duplicates2 $142,900 $126,800 $102,400

1. This does not include parents under 18 years of age.
2. Based on the average gift to families of $100 from a survey of all helping agencies.

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