Our Programs

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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:

Fill out the google form and submit your story. 

If you would like to include a profile picture or your social media handles with your submission, please send an email with the image and information attached to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2021 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 ext. 230.

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Be part of the growing movement to celebrate kindness in Ottawa    |    Kindness Week 2021 runs from Feb 12 - 19!

The city-wide Kind Ottawa initiative together with its flagship event, Kindness Week, celebrates people accross the city who have shown kindness in a way that should be recognized.  Kind Ottawa has become a vibrant movement in our community, encouraging people to “choose to be kind”. 

Kindness Week 2021 will take place February 12-19 virtually accross KIND OTTAWA Social Media channels. 

Kind Ottawa and Kindness Week are now run by the Caring and Sharing Exchange with extensive representation from our community.  Under the leadership of Kindness Week Chair, Rabbi Reuven Bulka (spiritual leader of Congregation Machzikei Hadas, host of CFRA’s Sunday Night with Rabbi Bulka, columnist with The Ottawa Citizen), community leaders and volunteers from across Ottawa employ their resources, experience and enthusiasm to bring Kindness Week to life in Ottawa. 

We have the ability to create the community we want.  Make a conscious choice to contribute and focus on A Kind Ottawa throughout the entire year!  

For more information, please contact us at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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SISS perfect gift for teacher appreciation donate button

Gift giving is about showing appreciation and thanks. When you give a gift to a teacher, you’re thanking them for the kindness and knowledge they’ve brought into your life.

Consider gifting a fully supplied backpack to a child in need in Ottawa in your teacher's name and we will send them an e-card informing them of your special gift of thanks!

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Teacher Gift Ecard Example

A Gift of Hope

Just $40 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 will also receive a card to present 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. Students have been experiencing major shifts in their education due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 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!

The Perfect End-Of-Year Gift

In light of Covid-19 and with everyone social distancing, what better way to honour a teacher than by making a gift in their name to support another child’s education? If you’re struggling to think of the perfect end-of-year present for a teacher, consider making a gift in their name to a child in need in the Ottawa community. We will send your teacher a lovely e-card, informing them of your generous gift, personalized with a message from you!

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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 French-language public 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 OCDSB guidelines to ensure each child is prepared to participate in all classroom activities, for a successful year of learning.

How many children get backpacks?

In 2019, we were fortunate to provide all 3,363 children on our list with assistance. The demand for back-to-school assistance has significantly increased since 2015, and we expect to see a dramatic increase in registration 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 that we will include in the e-card sent to your teacher.

Can I request to have a physical card mailed directly to me, so my child can present the card to their teacher?

In the past, this has been an option. However, due to the Covid-19 restrictions in place, we are only able to send virtual cards (email cards) this year.

Do you supply children in cities other than Ottawa?

We are a small 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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© 2021 The Caring and Sharing Exchange