HoHoTO 3.0 - Why do we do this?

[Cross-posted from the main HoHoTO page]

Yes, we're doing it again.

As those of you following the tweets have noticed, HoHoTO is returning this December 16th at The Mod Club in Toronto.

New to all this? Wondering what the heck a HoHoTO is and whether you need an inoculation? Check out this summary video from last year's phenomenal event, or just... well, you know what to do. If you're still confused, here's my post about last year's event.

Last year, we set the ticket prices at a starting level, then steadily increased the price as the days ticked down toward the event. This year, we're taking a different approach - less strongarm, more faith in the natural generosity of our fellow Torontonians. I'll get to the full explanation about ticket pricing in a minute.

First, let's remind ourselves why we're doing this in the first place:

HoHoTO grew organically out of a shared belief among a relatively small group of people. A belief that spread like a wildfire through the tweetstreams and blogvines and quickly turned a much, much bigger group of people on to the same core idea:

That people in our own town are hungry and - dammit - we can make a difference.

HoHoTO is about a lot of things. It's about having an insane night of unbridled, unforgettable FUN. It's about meeting old friends and new and spilling drinks on them. It's about dancing like you're 19 again. It's about awesome raffle prizes and fantastic surprises. It's about creating memories to last a long, long time.

But at root, it's about something even more important. Not to get all glum and earnest on you, but HoHoTO is - and always has been - about helping feed Toronto's hungry.

That's why we do this thing.

  • In Toronto, people just like you and me made more than a million visits to food banks last year.
  • Food bank use is growing - up 18% nationally this year over last. The largest ever year-over-year increase on record.
  • More than 37% of the people using food banks are children (and if that doesn't break your heart, you need to examine your soul)
  • The median monthly household income in Toronto is only $980. Hunger in the GTA is a result of lack of money, not lack of food.

Now you have a sense of why HoHoTO was created -- to help the Daily Bread Food Bank with desperately needed funds and food.

So far, with our original Holiday party in 2008 and the summer spinoff (oh so wittily labeled HoHOTo) we've managed to raise over $38,000. This year, we're going to try to beat that in one night. Our goal is $40,000. Yes, we're mental.

Here's the deal. If you're employed, gainfully self-employed, or independently wealthy and thinking of coming to HoHoTO, the chances are you're a hell of a lot better off financially than any of the people we're trying to help. So we've got a bunch of $20 tickets available - but are you really only good for twenty bucks?

A hundred bucks to you is what you take out of the ATM on a Saturday night and find it's all gone by Sunday morning. To a food bank user, that same $100 could be all they have left after rent and basics to feed their whole family for a month.

Please: before you say you can't afford any more than the basic ticket, stop and think. Yes, you can.

This year, you'll see there are blocks of tickets available at a range of price levels. There's no difference between the $20 and the $100 tickets. Only you will ever know the size of the donation you choose to make.

If $20 really is all you can spare, that's cool. We still want you there, and we know you'll be spending more on the night for drinks, cabs, etc.

But please, if you can - think of paying for your ticket at one of the higher levels. It's just the right thing to do.

OK. Enough begging. The tickets are now officially on sale, here. Hook yerself all up and get ready to have the ultimate Santastic holiday experience at the return of the original party that Twitter built.

Be there, or we'll bauble your eggnogs.