11-year-old boy and 17-year-old sister raise over $40k for animal rescues in Toronto
A young brother-sister duo from Toronto has been working hard to fundraise and volunteer for animal shelters all around the GTA over the past few years, cumulatively donating over $40,000 to date, and they've expanded their charitable efforts throughout the pandemic.
Will Finch, who is just 11-years-old, told blogTO it all started when his parents finally agreed to get him a rescue puppy named Karma roughly four years ago.
"My mom explained what good karma was and this was supposed to be my 'good Karma,'" he said. "She was the best puppy ever and I fell in love with her, we all did, fast. She made me smile every day and at bedtime, she slept by my side."
But just weeks after Will's family brought Karma home, she suddenly got very sick and was diagnosed with the deadly parvovirus.
A few days later, she died in his arms.
"I felt like my heart was broken in my tummy," Will told blogTO. "How could this be my good karma? I was so sad that I didn't want gifts for my upcoming birthday. All I asked for was money and supplies to donate to a local dog rescue in Karma's honour."
Will raised close to $400 for local rescue Fetch + ReLeash during that birthday alone, and they later invited him to come see some of the dogs he had helped.
"That day of giving was the day my heart started to heal," he said.
And so, his organization Good Will Good Karma was born, and he and his 17-year-old sister Jada have spent countless hours fundraising, collecting essential items and volunteering for all kinds of different rescues since.
"We started with bake sales and I would bake cupcakes, my brother would tell neighbours and friends," Jada told blogTO.
"Then we started to invite ourselves to some of the events local rescues were hosting in the community and sell cupcakes for their cause. A local cat rescue, All Paws, welcomed us with open arms and we would attend every event they had to help."
Jada then helped her younger brother start accounts for the organization on Facebook and Instagram, and they began brainstorming fundraising campaign ideas for specific animals that desperately needed help.
For example, they hosted a five-day fundraiser called "CAT-egory 5" during which they asked for $5 from each of their social media followers to help stray pregnant cats that had been rescued, and Jada said they were flooded with donations.
For one of their most recent fundraising initiatives, Jada and Will have begun selling "GWGK swag," and all proceeds from the merchandise go directly back to the animals.
But just like everything else, the pandemic has made their charitable efforts more challenging.
"At first it was so hard. Rescues couldn't host community events. I loved those because we get to see so many animals that are up for adoption," said Will.
"Money wasn't coming in. People were scared too. Many adoptions were taking place because people wanted pets at home to keep them company. That was the good news at first. But then it changed. Some people decided they couldn't afford their pets. Some people decided they couldn't handle the responsibility of a new puppy. They started to give them back, or try to sell them. Some even abandoned them."
So they had to change their approach.
They started sharing more stories on social media, asking people to drop donations in a bin on their porch, contacting and asking bigger suppliers for donations, posting videos on social media to educate people and more.
"People are saving money on gas or coffee or lunches if they work from home," he said. "We showed them how even $10 helped a rescue. We got creative because we needed to help more than ever. We have raised and donated approximately $45,000 in money and supplies."
And in addition to changing their fundraising strategy, Will said they've also expanded beyond local rescues to help dogs in need in northern communities.
He explained that the pandemic and the extreme cold have made it very difficult for northern rescues to get food and vet care for their animals, so they decided to team up with Northern Connection Rescue.
Will and Jada raised $5,000 for the northern dogs for his 11th birthday in January alone, and they've since shipped thousands of pounds of food and supplies into the communities.
And in March, Jada is set to travel to northern Manitoba on a rescue mission with Northern Connection.
"There is a lot of sad news. There are a lot of people feeling isolated. Some people feel scared. That is Jada and my reason to spread Good Will Good Karma. We are hoping to show people that there is good in this world. That anyone can make a difference. That kids can do it too," he said.
"We help animals but we also help people. When people learn how it feels to do kind things, they will feel better too. I turned my hurt into love, and I hope others can too."
Join the conversation Load comments