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Family Day fundraiser benefits Hospital for Sick Children

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The Papernick family holds a cheque from last year’s fundraiser
The Papernick family holds a cheque from last year’s fundraiser

Looking for something to do with your kids on Family Day this year – and do a mitzvah at the same time?

Jay Papernick, a Toronto-based financial advisor, is sponsoring his third annual “FUNdraiser” on Family Day, Feb. 15, to benefit the Hospital for Sick Children.

The event, geared for families with children age two to 10, is again at Active Kids Zone, an indoor playground and gym on Alness Street. It will run from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with bouncy castles, arts and crafts, bumper balls, an open gym and a pizza lunch.

There will be “more and better prizes” than in the past, including hockey tickets and a signed Maple Leafs jersey, Papernick said.

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Admission is free with a donation to SickKids. There is no minimum amount, but, if pressed, Papernick would suggest $10 to $20. Last year, almost 200 people attended, and the event raised $3,200 for SickKids Foundation, the fundraising arm of the hospital. Papernick hopes to raise even more this year. He is gratified to have heard parents at the event explain to their children where the money is going.

In fact, the initiative grew out of Papernick’s own attempt, along with his wife, Amy, to teach their oldest daughter, now eight years old, and later their two younger children, about tzedakah and giving back to the community.

The Papernicks’ daughter Layla was only three when a neighbourhood lemonade stand caught her eye while the family was driving past. They stopped, and Layla told her parents, “We should do that!”

Jay and Amy, a former teacher at Bialik Hebrew Day School, liked the idea, and recognized a teachable moment. They explained that the money raised by selling lemonade was used to help people, and asked Layla where she might want to donate money from her own lemonade stand.

Layla liked the idea of helping children who were sick, having just been to SickKids herself because of a broken leg.

A lemonade stand at the Papernicks’ home expanded the following year into a lemonade stand plus garage sale. The family has continued with the home-based event every summer except one, even after Jay decided to help the hospital through the larger event involving his office staff.

The Papernicks have always been passionate about giving to people in need, Amy said. In 2006 they raised $16,000 in three days to provide a Rosh Hashanah meal for Ethiopian olim in Safed, in the wake of the Second Lebanon War. They also paid their own way to Israel to be there for the dinner.

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A branch owner of Assante Capital Management for the past couple of years, Jay, 43, encouraged his younger staff members early on to think about what they would like to do in the community. He particularly liked the idea of an event on Family Day, partly because he deals with many young families in his work, and also because the holiday was relatively new (it started in 2008), so he thought that many families with young kids wouldn’t have set plans.

Other office initiatives include a bake sale at a downtown seniors home where one of the team volunteers.

Amy, who works in her husband’s office, says the entire staff “jumped on board” with the idea of being involved in the community. “We deal with money every day, so it’s nice to step outside and do something for the greater good.”