How Ottawa businesses kick off the holiday giving season

Caring and Sharing Exchange

A day filled with generosity and kindness is nearing as the Caring and Sharing Exchange prepares for its sixth annual Corporate Hamper Packing Day, where Ottawa’s business community comes together to support the wider community.

Executive director Cindy Smith says the hamper packing day – scheduled this for Thursday, Dec. 20 – is a key part of the local charity’s Christmas Exchange Program and is an ideal route for local businesses to give back while boosting employee engagement and strengthening ties between team members.

“We have a number of businesses who will sponsor the day, and they invite their staff and clients to come and participate, and then we all gather around and pack hampers for our Christmas Exchange Program,” says Smith.

Filled with everything needed for a festive meal, these hampers are then delivered to recipients who requested assistance through the Caring and Sharing Exchange.

Sharing and Caring Exchange

Innovapost is one local business that has been involved with Corporate Hamper Packing Day since its inception six years ago. Manager Connie Lee says delivering the packed hampers is particularly special for her team.

“The best reward is delivering the hampers at the end of the day and being able to see the smiles on those people’s faces,” says Lee.

In addition to the hamper packing day, Innovapost also runs workplace fundraising events throughout the holiday season, with all proceeds going to the Caring and Sharing Exchange.

“We can get up to 20,000 people requesting assistance from us every year through the Christmas Exchange Program,” says Smith. “We’re not government funded, we’re not United Way funded, so we rely on the generosity of individuals, corporations and foundations to run our program.”

Helping so many people requires many sets of hands. The Corporate Hamper Packing Day fills the Horticulture Building with volunteers so that the maximum number of hampers can be packed and delivered. Smith says this allows everyone to bond at an event that brings the Ottawa business community together.

“It’s not just a sponsorship opportunity, it’s an opportunity for businesses to come and participate, as well as mingle,” says Smith. “We typically have community leaders, volunteers and businesses at the event. It’s a festive event that’s a great way to kick off the Christmas holidays.”

Caring and Sharing Exchange

The true spirit of the holiday season is giving back, a fact the Caring and Sharing Exchange knows all too well as they prepare to provide bountiful Christmases to Ottawa families and individuals in need.

The Caring and Sharing Exchange is always looking for more businesses to participate and offers multiple sponsorship opportunities – all of which come with the opportunity to bring teams closer together.

For more information, visit or email Heather Fraser at